Monday, June 18, 2012

My favourite Francesca Woodman photograph

As part of my trip to New York in early May, I went to the Guggenheim to see the Francesca Woodman show.

I didn't realize the photos were mainly nudes -- I had to sheepishly explain to my wife that New York magazine declared it a "Critic's Pick" but had failed to mention the nakedness.

As it happened, my favourite photograph did not involve nudity. But it wan't included in the exhibition catalogue either. I tried taking a photo of it in the gallery (tsk, tsk -- not supposed to do that) and it turned out a blurry mess.

And then, by complete fluke, I found a high-res version of the image I was after through the Paris Review blog. (Click above image for article).

If you don't already know, Woodman committed suicide at age 22. This image combines a chalk outline element, a lingering shadow, with her hidden, off in the corner, perhaps contemplating her after-image self. It's an obvious reading of the photograph, but so what. Sometimes art is obvious.