Society works in strange ways: in order to have it you must be involved with people. My mother, who never read Proust, believed in an ideal Platonic society—which is to say, a society of people (her children) based on herself. Meanwhile, my mother had become a “nice” person in order to separate herself from her own mother’s family—which is to say, her family had been constituted of people who were not nice. Isn’t that one function of society: to let one become an individual, so that one leaves it?

Mostly what we “like” in photographs is what we recognize as emotion in them; a decisive emotional moment made evident. What I recognize in Nan Goldin’s photographs are people leaving the self she has photographed for another self she may or may not have the opportunity to photograph in the future. Nan Goldin herself leaves things behind also, just because she has photographed them, so that they

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