Jim Goldberg's Open See series of 2009 began five years earlier in Greece, where, commissioned by Magnum, he went to document the Summer Olympics. As is typical for Goldberg, he found his subjects on the periphery of the action—in ghettos, refugee camps, and border crossings where refugees and immigrants from war-torn, economically devastated, and disease-ravaged countries in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere were attempting to make a life for themselves. Watching Oprah, shot in Greece, exemplifies Goldberg's approach to the pictures in Open See: made with a landscape lens that captures both clarity and distance, they are grand in their scope and intimate in their attention to telling details. Here, three men presumably engaged in the activity suggested by the photograph's title look in three different directions. Where is Oprah?


  • Title: Watching Oprah
  • Creator: Jim Goldberg
  • Creator Lifespan: 1953
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Birth Place: New Haven, Connecticut
  • Date Created: 2004
  • Location: Greece
  • Physical Dimensions: w1270 x h1016 in (image)
  • Type: photograph
  • Rights: © Jim Goldberg
  • External Link: SFMOMA
  • Medium: Chromogenic print mounted on aluminum
  • More Info: More About This Artist - SFMOMA
  • Credit Line: Accessions Committee Fund purchase
  • About the Artist: Jim Goldberg is committed to examining and extending traditional documentary photography. For his first book, Rich and Poor (1985), the San Francisco–based photographer made documentary-style pictures of people in their homes, which ranged from elegant to modest to rudimentary. He further engaged his subjects in the process by asking them to write a commentary underneath their portrait; these invariably reveal concerns about class, happiness, and power. His next major project, Raised by Wolves (1995), focused on street kids in San Francisco and Los Angeles, many of whom had been abused, and integrated their drawings, letters, memories, and family pictures into the work. In 2004, after joining the cooperative photography agency Magnum, Goldberg embarked on his extended "New Europeans" project, exploring the experience of immigrants who left war-torn or economically distressed homelands to make new lives in Europe. With his subjects' involvement and frequently using their words, he created the resulting series, Open See (2009).

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