Favourite: Francesca Woodman
Who is Francesca Woodman? Well - let me tell you...
Francesca Woodman was a photographer based in Colorado who sadly died at the age of twenty-two from jumping out of a window. It was suicide. Her photographs, predominantly black and white often feature herself or other female models, many of the 800 negatives Woodman produced feature blurred figures that melt into the background.
Since her death in 1981, the photographs Francesca Woodman took have been exhibited world wide and to critical acclaim, show a portrait of a young woman unsure of her place in the world. It is sad to note that it wasn't until after her death her photographs attracted such attention, maybe if Francesca had lived longer she would have attained recognition in a way she battled so hard for?
I wrote about several of these photographs in my first year of University, when I too experimented with my body, a camera and slow shutter speed. The experience of taking photos of ourselves in this way encourages self criticism and a judgemental eye on how we are perceived.
I was lucky enough, a few years ago, to see some of the Francesca Woodman collection at Victoria Miro, to examine the photographs one had to get up close and personal to the images, due to their size. I thought at the time how I would have liked the images to be larger but looking back they should be 8'x10', forcing us into Woodman's space, an intimacy with the photographs we will not achieve with the artist.
The images Woodman created have an honesty and vulnerability to them which I think we can all relate to, but also an acceptance of her body that is inspirational. To be comfortable enough at the age of twenty-two to display our naked body? To offer up everything we are and everything we want to be? That's a place not everyone can reside in.