Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Think I'm Having An Art Attack No. 2

This time it's because of you, Francesca Woodman . . .

I remember when I first stumbled across her. In college I worked in my school's library, which is really one of the most enjoyable low-paying hourly wage jobs there are. I would sort returned books in the back room and allow myself to take frequent breaks from call numbers and read whatever books interested me (which was most of them). So on this particular afternoon I came across a small stack of Woodman's photography and stopped in my tracks. I didn't have a choice about whether or not I was going to read those books, they just absorbed me. I was sucked into a sort of trance, completely captivated by Woodman's over-exposed, ghostly, and beautifully lonesome images. 

Of the 800 or so photographs Woodman produced during her brief lifetime only about a quarter of them have been seen by the public. Most of her photographs are black and white and often feature a female nude (commonly self-portraits, but not always). Her environments are seemingly timeless: the decaying ruins, crumbling empty houses, and unpopulated landscapes deny the viewer a sure sense of time. (I might add that her wardrobe, when there is one, is lovely.) Slow shutter speeds lend her subjects a haunted, apparitional quality. The female figures seem to be the only things moving in their lonely landscapes as if they are spirits unable to be suspended in time. 


  1. did you see that documentary on her? it was really good!

    1. Yeah, I did see that! So interesting to listen to Francesca's family talk about her and see that work they are making.