Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Francesca Woodman

by Drew Martin
I just watched an excellent documentary on Netflix about Francesca Woodman. It is called The Woodmans and is stitched together with very sobering interviews with her parents, brother and friends. Her parents, George and Betty Woodman, and brother Charlie are all artists and had quite an aesthetic life together in artsy homes in Boulder, Colorado, New York City, and Florence, Italy.

Francesca was a photographer who focused on black and white nude pictures, mainly of herself and other young female models. In 1981, at the age of 22, she committed suicide by jumping off a building in lower Manhattan. Her father said she was having a bad day; she found out she was not going to get an National Endowment for the Arts grant and her bicycle was stolen. Her parents question how they raised her, immersed in their own projects, fulfilling roles as professional artists, which Francesca never became. Interest in her work bloomed after her death. Her posthumous fame is met with mixed emotions by those who survived her.

The Woodmans is a well made film, punctuated with Francesca's beautiful photographs, which feel very fresh and relevant today. Click here to see a trailer of the film.