Photo by Francesca Woodman. This linked image is available to view on: http://www.heenan.net/woodman
Susan Bright, comments, “It is difficult not to read Woodman’s self-portraits as alluding to a troubled state of mind.”
Looking at Woodman’s images I see a mixture of fantasy with pathos. There is a feeling of melancholy and vulnerability in her poses. There are a lot of nudes, but the images are not about the nude body but the nakedness and perhaps this was a reflection of how she felt.
I can only guess at her thoughts based upon her tragic end and not having read her diaries but this is what I read from the photographs.
However, I find Woodman’s photos both a little erotic and disturbing. Woodman clearly had 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 think that Woodman’s images don’t need accompanying text for the images to be appreciated.
I wonder however, that Woodman clearly had mental-health issues and perhaps the wider issue is the stigma attached to this form of health-issue and the lack of understanding and help 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.