Photos and Pictures with words: Visual Diary Photographers

Have you ever tried to describe some kind of pictures with words? Every photographer has a subject they are interested in documenting. The job of a photojournalist or a war photographer is to document everyday events of importance for the world; a wedding photographer must point his/her camera to the bride and groom enjoying the party, and a sport photographer must concentrate in documenting a soccer, baseball or even football game. In our case, we turn your own picture to text, being or not a professional photographer. Besides these photographers, there are also one special kind, the ones dedicated to document their everydayness; they make visual diaries out of their life and that’s why they should be considered as visual diary photographers. Here are some of them:

Elinor Carucci

Carucci is an Israeli-American photographer that has devoted her life to photograph her family. She was born in Jerusalem in 1971 and despite of serving in the army for 2 years she didn’t want to master the art of war photography. She started to experiment with photography when she was 15 years old. Her main work is focused on herself, her parents, her husband and, nowadays, her children. She portraits them in everyday situation documenting the relationship they share. Some might consider them a controversial photographer since her subjects can appear naked or in compromising situations. Also, she portrayed her time being pregnant and in these pictures she showed the joys but also the pains of being a mother. This idea continues until today since she photographs the struggles of raising two kids as a full time working mom.

About this work she said that “it was very much about me being a mother and strong, unusual bond with the kids. Even though Eran [her husband] really helped me —he’s a big part of my work technically and conceptually— I felt it was more about me and the kids, the three of us as one unit”. Elinor Carucci has taught in Princeton University and in the International Centre of Photography (ICP). In 1995 she received a BFA from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. She has published 3 books: Closer (2002), Diary of a Dancer (2005) and Mother (2009). Some of her other series are: Crisis, Comfort and Pain. She exposed her work in the Museum of Modern Art in Israel, The Photographers Gallery in London and Fotographie Foro in Frankfurt. You can see Carucci’s work visiting:

Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin is an American photographer born in 1953. Goldin’s work is focused in her closest friends and the life they led during the 70s and 80s. Just as Carucci, Goldin started with photography when she was 15 years old. During the 70s, Goldin started to frequent the community of Provincetown, a popular Massachusetts vacation site the homosexual community used to visit; it’s here where Goldin meets the protagonists of her photography for the next 20 years: Bruce, Sharon, Cookie and Waters. Her series explore love, depression, loneliness, poverty, violence, sickness and sexual dependency. One of her most recognized works is called The Ballad of Sexual Dependency a photographic series that portrays the devastating effect of Aids during the 80s.

Also, according to Goldin: “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency is the diary I let people read. The diary is my form of control over my life. It allows me to obsessively record every detail. It enables me to remember.” In The Ballad of Sexual dependency there is a picture of a battered Nan Goldin, its called Nan One Month after being battered; she took this photo after he longtime partner physically abused her. Her photographic work is raw and sincere. Nan Goldin has published The Other Side (1993), Couples and Loneliness (1998), The Devil’s Playground (2004), among others photographic books.

Sally Mann

Mann is an American photographer born in 1951. She is from Lexington, Virginia, where she still lives and works. She has 3 kids: Jessie, Emmet and Virginia and they are the protagonist of some of her greatest portraits. The portraits of Sally Mann are done in intimate spaces, such as her home in Virginia. Despite feeling the warmness of home in her pictures many have judged her for the cryptic environment her photographs show and the way her children are portrayed: naked or even smoking. Nevertheless, her series Immediate Family demonstrates the freedom of childhood and also the deepness of this stage of life.

Most of her important work was made during the 80s and 90s. Many times she has said that”it’s always been my philosophy to try to make art out of the everyday and ordinary. It never occurred to me to leave home to make art”. Her books include: At Twelve (1988), Still Time (1994), What Remains (2003), Deep South (2005), Proud Flesh (2009), The Flesh and The Spirit (2010) and Remembered Light (2016). You can admire her work visiting her web-site:

Angelo Merendino

Angelo Merendino is the author of The Battle We Didn’t Choose: My Wife’s Fight with Breast Cancer. The name of his series says it all. Not long after he got married to Jennifer, his wife, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Jennifer received the treatment she needed and her doctor said she was cancer free; this happened just after their one year anniversary. A few years passed and in 2010 her oncologist informed them that her cancer had metastasized to her liver and bones. Jennifer received the treatment once again, but both her and Angelo realized there weren’t being supported by their family; that’s why Angelo started documenting their everyday life. This work is intimate and difficult. Merendino portrayed Jennifer in their house and receiving treatment.

After this their family was very supportive and thanks to the recommendation of a friend, Angelo uploaded the photos online and the reaction was overwhelming: a lot of people from all over the world also showed their support. On 2011, Jennifer passed away, but the record of her courageous struggle still lives on. Nowadays, Angelo maintains a non-profit organization that helps women with breast cancer to receive treatment after they have surgeries; it’s called The Love You Share. You can be a part of Angelo and Jennifer’s fight visiting their web-site:

If you don’t know what to give away to your love ones this summer, what about a book by any of these artist? Or what about turning your own pictures with words? It would be a beautiful gift for your family and friends interested in photography.

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