Magnum Photos Photographer Profile

Jim Goldberg 

American, b. 1953 (Member) 

I have the great privilege of being both witness and storyteller.
Intimacy, trust and intuition guide my work. ” 


Jim Goldberg has been exhibiting for over 30 years and his innovative use of image and text make him a landmark photographer of our times. He began to explore experimental storytelling and the potentials of combining image and text with Rich and Poor (1977-85), where he juxtaposed the residents of welfare hotel rooms with the upper class and their elegantly furnished homes to investigate the nature of American myths about class, power, and happiness. In Raised by Wolves (1985-95), he worked closely with and documented runaway teenagers in San Francisco and Los Angeles to create a book and exhibition that combined original photographs, text, home movie stills, snapshots, drawings, diary entries as well as single and multi-channel video, sculpture, found objects, light boxes and other 3-D elements.

His book, Open See (2003-2010), tells the story of refugees, immigrants, and trafficked individuals journeying from their countries of origin to their new homes in Europe. Open See remains within Goldberg’s multi-faceted and multimedia practice by using diverse formats to create a thickly interwoven, expressionistic narrative from many points of view.

Goldberg’s current project, Candy (2012-2015), layers archival materials, Super 8 film stills, and text from his childhood in New Haven with new photographs of its urban landscape and residents. The result is a twisting, multilayered exploration of American notions of aspiration and betrayal.

His forthcoming books include Ruby Every Fall, Nazraeli Press; The Last Son, Super Labo; Candy, Yale University Press, and Raised By Wolves Bootleg, Self-published.

Jim Goldberg’s work is in numerous private and public collections including MoMA, SFMOMA, Whitney Museum of Art, The Getty, LACMA, MFA Boston, Hallmark Collection, National Gallery of Art, MAST Foundation, The High Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Library of Congress, MFA Houston, National Museum of American Art, Musee de la Photographie, Pier 24 Photography, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Among the many awards Goldberg has received are three National Endowment of the Arts Fellowships in Photography, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Henri Cartier-Bresson Award, and the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize.

Goldberg’s fashion, editorial and advertising work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide.

Jim Goldberg is Professor Emeritus at the California College of the Arts. He is represented by Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York and Casemore Kirkeby Gallery in San Francisco. Goldberg joined Magnum Photos in 2002.