Francesca Woodman

One photographer I really enjoy is Francesca Woodman. She experimented a lot with her composition, subject, and technique and I find it to be very unique, even still, to what many people have done and do in photography.

These three photographs are some of my favorites from her. I like how she uses the human body to create an interesting narrative or shape in each photograph. Generally, I like her style, she uses a lot of models as well as herself in many of her images. Here, I like how she experiments with motion blur and using the body to create a figure. In the first photograph, I love how it looks like her body is blending in with the wallpaper.

I also am a huge fan of how contrasty her photos are. I’m someone who doesn’t shy away from contrast, sometimes I even go overboard in contrast. Personally, I am attracted to photos with darker blacks and lighter lights because it gives it a very heavy, mysterious feel to the photo. I’m a pretty happy person but I don’t find myself being interested in photographs that give off a happy feeling. From Woodman’s work I get a sadness or even just a heaviness that makes me want to keep looking at each photo.

Her composition is also something that I am really drawn to. I think she frames each picture so well and it just makes her subject even more interesting. My eye travels throughout the whole photo instead of just being stuck in one spot. She definitely was able to get a reaction from her audience (though she didn’t really become big until she died). Overall, I like her techniques but also the feeling I get from the photographs.

I would personally love to learn how to take photographs like she did. I feel like she took a lot of risks and that they paid off tremendously. Generally, I have trouble thinking in “medium format.” What I mean is, my mind automatically compositions things in rectangles, not squares. It’s something I have to work at for sure and I think Woodman is an excellent person to look up in in regards to formatting and composition in medium format.

  1. “I like how she uses the human body to create an interesting narrative or shape in each photograph.”
    I think you’re right, but can you give some examples of interesting narratives in her work? I have a DVD of a recent film made about her that is worth seeing!

  2. What’s the dvd called? I recently saw The Woodmans which I really enjoyed. I’d have to see it again though because I was watching it on my computer so of course was distracted by other things.

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