Photo by Francesca Woodman. This lined image is available to view on line: http://bibliotecaiie.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/francescawoodman.jpg
Francesca Woodman’s images I find both a little erotic and disturbing. Woodman clearly a lot of pent up sexual-tension with an artistic voice wanting to be heard. If I was to say that there was an element of narcissism in Woodman’s photos I think I would be wrong. I think that she was probably insecure about herself and her looks, yes she was very self-indulgent which may sadly have lead her to her death. I believe there are indications of her moods of depression in her images. We all sometime feel that we could just disappear and I think that Woodman acts out some of these wished imaginings in her photos. I personally, think that Woodman’s images don’t need accompanying text for the images to be appreciated. However, they communicate best as set.
Woodman clearly had mental-health issues and I wonder that perhaps the wider issue here is the stigma attached to this form of health-issue and the lack of understanding and help available for sufferers. Many artist suffer from depression as many artists by there nature are bipolar in some degree and perhaps educational institutions such as schools and colleges / universities should also watch for this and offer counselling and support. Woodman committed suicide in 1981 and over 30 years later we are still loosing talent through our lack of understanding of how to help.
Photo by Elina Brotherus. This linked image is available to view online on her website: http://www.elinabrotherus.com
Brotherus has used her naked body to put ‘a spotlight’ on herself. I think that her nakedness not only reflects her sense of vulnerability but also her lock of power and sense of naked honesty. She uses nakedness to grab the attention of the audience / viewer in order to pass on her intended message.
For me Brotherus images instil mixed feelings of sympathy and admiration for both her struggle and sadness and her honesty and dignified strength.
Some may interpret Brotherus’s work as a little self-indulgent; but I would disagree. Brotherus has used herself as a subject to bring to peoples attention issues that are often hidden. These issues she has experienced for herself and therefore can tell the story from the inside. By using herself as the model and subject she enforces the truth and her own honesty.
I don’t believe that this style of images can be imitated purely for image sake by ‘outsiders’. These images come from the heart and therefore if mimicked would lack the context that these images were created to represent. These images have been made to represent the artist own feelings and emotions and whilst the images can be replicated the emotional message the originals carry can not without some honest intent from the new artist. In this way only another artist going through similar experiences can produce similar work and would then have his or her own style and signature. Anything else would be a false facsimile.
As mentioned above, I believe that the motivation of these artist are to raise awareness of issues, that are often hidden from public-sight. Naturally these issues have to be close and personal to the artist in order for the artist to be able to be an insider and produce honest and truthful images.