Wk4 – Artist – Francesca Woodman

by eunjoos


Francesca Woodman’s photography is critically acclaimed and is still a subject of great discussion. She became a master of photography and developed her own style or signature at such a young age. She only lived to be twenty-two years old before she took her life, but her work lives on and is very much talked about in the world of contemporary art.

Much of her photographs were in black and white and were self portraits, although you could rarely see her face. Her photographs never contained any presence of males. Many of her photographs explore issues of identity, gender, and self. There is a great emphasis of her body and her surroundings in her photographs. In some of her self-portraits, she puts herself in the frame but in the most nonconventional ways. She is often blurred, obscured, or hidden. She uses a slow shutter on her camera in order to blur herself from her photographs and this became one of her signatures in her photography.

In Francesca Woodman’s Untitled Boulder, Colorado 1976, she photographs herself naked around a graveyard. These collection of photographs may look and seem rather ghostly and eerie. The first picture for example, Woodman is crawling through the hole of the tombstone and she is blurred. She uses this effect on her camera quite often. This effect gives her a ghostly feeling and this photograph gives off a supernatural vibe. The second photograph she is also blurred and seems to be in motion. The third photograph she is stuck in the roots of the tree. Her body is stuck in the roots of the tree, not letting her go. She is becoming part of the tree. The message behind this photograph can be that she is stuck, or that she is trying to find somewhere to belong; she is perhaps trying to find a place to belong in  nature.


In Francesca Woodman’s House #3 Providence, Rhode Island 1976, there are a series of photographs where she is hidden and obscured around the house. Here she is hiding in plain sight, and the viewer of this photograph can ask, “What is she hiding from?” She may be trying to disappear or hide from this world. Because of her suicide, many of her photographs are explained through her depression and her wanting to leave this world. One can argue that these photos represent the confinement of women at home, and others may argue that these photos belong to the experimental Surrealist photography.

Francesca Woodman’s pictures inspire many interpretations and her work still resonates with today. She had so much talent at such a young age and her photographs showed maturity and focus. Though she was not well known when she is alive, she is very much known now, and her work impacts the lives of those who views them.