All posts tagged: On Being an Angel

On Being an Angel: finding Francesca Woodman in the otherness of her self-portraits 

The American photographer Francesca Woodman is regarded as a defining voice of her generation. Although she was a teenager when the main body of her work was completed, Woodman is now talked of as the Sylvia Plath of photography, both in terms of her cultural attitude and the workings of her art. Yet, unlike the poet Plath, Woodman remained almost completely unrecognised throughout her short, tragic life. Indeed, her rejection from the established industry of the time may have contributed to her horribly sad death. In the autumn of 1980, at the age of 22, Woodman was forced to move in to her parent’s home in Manhattan after surviving a suicide attempt. The adopted New Yorker, who had started her life in the frontier town of Boulder, Colorado, had begun to suffer from depression, in part due to the failure of her work to attract attention. She had sent her portfolio of self-portraits to magazines across New York, and been uniformly ignored. Then, an application for funding from the National Endowment for the Arts was rejected. On January 19, 1981, soon after her relationship to her partner disintegrated, …


BJP Staff