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James Is A Girl

JAMES KING AKA JAIME KING
SIXTEEN YEAR OLD MODEL
GIRLFRIEND OF DAVIDE SORRENTI PHOTOGRAPHED BY NAN GOLDIN ON THE COVER OF THE NEW YORK
TIMES MAGAZINE. THEY CALLED IT HEROIN CHIC.

James Is A Girl is the title of The New York Times Magazine cover story of February 4th 1996. The piece was written by Jennifer Egan and photographed by Nan Goldin. Following the sixteen year old James King through Paris and New York fashion weeks, it is probably the single most important 90s fashion and photography reference.

It's as if Nan Goldin couldn't help but make beautiful images. Whatever she saw or personally experienced, and no matter how ugly that might have been, her photographs always transcended it. It sets her work apart from all other photographers of that period and genre.

A few months after the NYTM story, Nan Goldin shot a campaign for Matsuda with James King modelling. It is fashion photography but it is also clearly a continuation of the photo-essay: more photographs following the fortunes and probable misfortunes of a super skinny model in the mid-90s. The double page above comes from an issue of the Japanese fashion magazine Dune, which reprinted the work. See it in full here.

Egan's introduction reads "In the the fashion world of the 90's, teen-age models simulate an adulthood they've yet to experience for women who crave a youthful beauty they'll never achieve. Sweet 16 it's not." You can read the full text here. It is brilliantly written. And you can see much more of the imagery here. It is beautifully photographed.

Black dress, white shirt. It's rare for us to make a fuss about composition but this is great, don't you think? In fact it is all inspired. The cover design, art direction of the story, the title itself, the characters (the mother and the model agent) and James King herself.

The Matsuda campaign covered mens and women's fashion and was published as a book titled Naked New York: Nan Goldin Meets Yukio Kobayashi (the designer of Matsuda). It was a limited edition of 3000  copies, of which we have two this week.  New York Times Magazine is at least twice as scarce. We only have one copy and there does not appear to be another for sale anywhere in the world. The way we like it!
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