Essay for XX Archives Monograph



Over her long career as a photographer – spanning her years working as a photojournalist before transitioning to a projects-based photographer exhibiting in commercial galleries and museums –  Dina Goldstein has shown a remarkable ability to find the absurd, comical and incisive moment in any given scene. Her many photographic series  – of race track denizens, Sikh farm workers and Barbie and Ken -have earned her critical praise and a popular following. Her photographic work has something that is increasingly rare these days – a heartfelt point of view and a determination to prove the social worth of that point. This essay was done for Goldstein’s self-published monograph documenting her long and smart career.



Essay for XX Archives Book

Dina Goldstein went to New York on assignment in the aftermath of September 11 when the city was still in a stupor of disbelief, anguish and fear. The tragedy was a thunderbolt that cracked open a new millennium, shifting the course of people and politics, and the tenor of the times, darker now, for years to come. In the decade ahead, Goldstein became a mother twice over, and remained working as an editorial photographer. Her deft hand for portraiture is evident throughout this period. The internationally-renowned architect Arthur Erickson looking sharp as an owl in his beloved garden; pioneer modernist Gordon Smith still creatively vital despite his infirmities; and author Douglas Coupland splaying his fingers over his face like a mask, the pomo trickster playing a juvenile game. Still, Goldstein was determined to dig deeper into collective society and, somewhat unexpectedly, found a rich quarry close to home.


In 2004, Goldstein first exhibited Trackrecord, a personal project that was the culmination of 2 years spent weekly at Hastings Park Racecourse on Vancouver’s eastside, a once iconic gambling venue then beginning to fade. The project allowed her the freedom to pursue her own curiosity and create her own world. A CBC tv news story from the time interviews Goldstein at the track and shows her – charming, dogged –  encouraging hoped-for subjects to agree to be photographed. One track regular, Theodore, teases that Goldstein is a hustler and she laughs it off. But she shows a natural affinity for this demi-monde crowd of hustlers and housewives and beauty queens gone long in the tooth, regular folk, all out for a thrill, some camaraderie, a few bucks. Trackrecord proved a turning point. Goldstein found her pace as an artist – among subcultural superheroes to which she could harness a larger message, her own narrative.


— (end of excerpt)



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