Jim Goldberg, ‘The Road West’, 2006, Wirtz Art

Open See is the first part of a vast project by Jim Goldberg, documenting the exodus of refugees, immigrants and victims of human trafficking coming from countries ravaged by war and economic crises to remake their lives in Europe. Since 2003, Jim Goldberg has made photographs, films and Polaroids annotated by the subjects who tell the tales of their journeys, gathering manuscripts, notes, ephemera and recording their stories. These individuals are the victims of crises, in Europe and throughout the world--economic refugees from poverty-stricken regions, forced laborers, kidnapped sex slaves or persons duped by financial mirages. Many of them have left communities devastated by AIDS or totalitarian regimes, in the hope of more security and prosperity in Europe. Beginning in 2003 in Greece, as part of a Magnum Cultural Commission, Goldberg has photographed these populations and their distress. He became interested in the countries of origin of these migrants (and their living conditions there): countries such as Ukraine, India, Bangladesh, Liberia, Senegal, Mauritania and Democratic Republic of Congo. More generally, the work looks at the problems of globalization and addresses questions of racism and cultural persecution. Despite these sad realities, these individuals endure, and their stories are full of hope and heroism.

Series: Open See

About Jim Goldberg

Claiming, “I have the great privilege of being both witness and storyteller,” Jim Goldberg documents people from all walks of life—including homeless teens, celebrities, and refugees—in his penetrating photographs and films. He has been exhibiting his work for more than 30 years in galleries, museums, and public spaces. Guided, in his words, by “intimacy, trust, and intuition,” he gains his subjects’ confidence, and they allow him intimate access into their lives. In Raised by Wolves (1985-95), for example, he worked with runaway teens in California, sensitively and unflinchingly documenting their lives through images, texts, and other materials. Goldberg considers himself a storyteller, but one who aims to raise questions and foreground ambiguity. He frequently overlays text onto his images, inviting his subjects to write directly onto his photographs of them, and including their own words in his books and films.

American, b. 1953, based in Bay Area, CA, USA