Sunday, December 19, 2010

Photo Sunday: Francesca Woodman



Francesca Woodman's work amazes me. Looking at it today, it might be easy to dismiss it as hackneyed, angsty, self-indulgent Project365 work, but that reading forgets one really important fact: Francesca Woodman practically invented the moody, surreal female self-portrait. All of her work was created between 1972 and 1980. Forbearers like Claude Cahun and contemporaries like Cindy Sherman are certainly important figures in the birth of the female self-portrait, but it's Woodman who really brought in the personal, emotional edge.



Unfortunately, Woodman's angsty work was the product of a very troubled life. After a hugely successful undergraduate career at RISD, Woodman committed suicide. She was only 22.



As a young female art student, it's easy to identify with Woodman. Almost all of her work was created while she was still an undergraduate. It makes me feel pretty inadequate to realize that, but it's also inspiring. Being a young woman is an experience that doesn't often get a fair treatment. Just think of how few coming-of-age novels there are about young women in the realm of what's accepted as literature. Francesca Woodman captures something about being a young woman in a way that is both accurate and abstract.


Woodman had an amazing eye for detail. The angle of the fish bones repeats perfectly in the wood of the wall.


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To my eyes, her work has a lot in common with the photography of Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Both of them use the simple trick of a long exposure to create a ghostly, ethereal atmosphere.


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Woodman took this photograph at the age of thirteen. Pretty unbelievable, isn't it? The lighting couldn't be more gorgeous.

I love how Francesca Woodman's photographs are mysterious but resonant. Her imagery is alien but still familiar.

22 comments:

Cassidy said...

I love the emotion in these photos, it's very haunting and beautiful.

Michelle said...

These photos are so lovely and emotional. And I can't believe she took that last one when she was 13! It's fantastic!

AnnaBananaCupcake said...

A very lovely set of photos. Such talent!!
XOXO

Zarna said...

those photos are so wonderful! they are amazing!

Annebeth said...

I absolutely love these features you do, I love learning more about contemporary (feminist) art!

Olivia said...

Wowowowow. These are amazing! I'd seen that first picture somewhere a few weeks ago and it didn't have a credit, so now I'm super happy to know where it came from.

PS Thanks for always leaving me lovely comments :)

SoYesterday. said...

these are fabulous photos!
the feeling is just so strong!
i really enjoy your blog(:

<3 :)
nicoleechelberger.blogspot.com

Chelsea Lane said...

wow, these are so gorgeous <3 love the black and white! what natural born talent; gorgeous!

xoxo

T.A.P.S. said...

wow I have never seen anything like these photos. they are dream like.

CESTDEMODE.blogspot.com

Lo said...

these are gorgeous

Michal said...

Wow these are awesome. What a talented artist & such a sad story. I can't believe these were all taken before she was 23. Crazy!

Giovanna ♥ said...

Oh wow! Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing :)
xo
Giovanna Mariela
Boho Market

Glamour Bbey. said...

Hayhay!
How are you? Your blog is great and I love your posts! I'm glad that I've visited yours.

Please, check mine, & maybe we can follow eachother? + join my giveaway!

Thanks and love,
Cindy from www.glamourblog.tk

Kallie, Happy Honey and Lark said...

these photos are incredible. i had heard of her in passing, but i didn't realize how haunting her work was or that her career was so short. i love that you do photo sundays, I have a minor in northern renaissance art history and modern art just sort of never interested me, but when you post these it makes me finally feel some kind of connection to it through yours. so thanks.
ps-i saw you on fancy fine! you are a DOLL.

Mademoiselle Antonova said...
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Mademoiselle Antonova said...
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Mademoiselle Antonova said...

everybody loves a dark genius :) i've been admiring miss woodman work for a while now... love the moodiness and the delicacy of her self-portraits.
great post, thanks for sharing! x

SMASH said...

Thanks for posting about her work. I had never heard of her but these images are astounding (I'll have to show my bf too, we're both photo dorks). These images are pretty haunting and its such a shame she committed suicide :/

On another note, Yes I love Arrested Development! I always got a kick out of whenever they would mention Newport Beach and other things. Too bad AD was filmed in Malibu. Although I will say there are a few chocolate covered banana stands in the city, so that detail is very accurate :)

xx
MILK TEETHS

SMASH said...

Thanks for posting about her work. I had never heard of her but these images are astounding (I'll have to show my bf too, we're both photo dorks). These images are pretty haunting and its such a shame she committed suicide :/

On another note, Yes I love Arrested Development! I always got a kick out of whenever they would mention Newport Beach and other things. Too bad AD was filmed in Malibu. Although I will say there are a few chocolate covered banana stands in the city, so that detail is very accurate :)

xx
MILK TEETHS

Lo said...

these are gorgeous

Giovanna ♥ said...

Oh wow! Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing :)
xo
Giovanna Mariela
Boho Market

Cassidy said...

I love the emotion in these photos, it's very haunting and beautiful.