Francesca Woodman was a photographer based in Manhattan. Her body of work consisted of over 800 images, the majority being self-portraits. She began taking photographs when she was just thirteen years old and continued to do so right up to her death at the age of twenty-two.
Her work is ethereal and touches on the American Gothic with her images of dilapidated interiors and haunting narratives waiting to be explored if you dare. There could be a great deal that one could read into her photography knowing that she took her own life. It is with great sadness that people do take a different view on the work of an artist when suicide is present in their life story as per Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton; we read deeper than we ever would before. These darker themes are present yet who is to say that this is just simply a style adopted and not a reflection of thoughts and feelings at that time? Although the art and the artists are deeply entwined in each other, death can overshadow or cast another narrative over an image, poetry or prose. In Francesca’s case, it has coloured her work over the years as people have continued to dissect and pick at her as a person, her psyche and state of mind.
Francesca’s work is beautiful, visually dark and thought-provoking yet so simple in its posture and presentation that when viewing a gallery of her images, it is as if her spirit lives on in the black and white ink of the paper.