cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

PHOTOGRAPHER Francesca Woodman






ART Greg Allum Francesca Woodman [slightly HDR-ish




ART FRANCESCA WOODMAN blur corner room




Francesca Woodman – Laurie Anderson


Enzo Amoruso’s slide show of many of Francesca Woodman’s photographs with 2 tracks, “statue of freedom” and “strange perfumes” from Laurie Anderson’s Transitory Life works quite well. Not being a Laurie Anderson expert, I have absolutely no idea if these are the correct tracks as suggested in the YouTube comments.

Coming to her for the first time, this is quite a good way to do it. Enzo has used a lot of them in the 15 minute video. It seems like a good idea to look at her photographs without wondering too much about who she is and what reputation she has. I have come to her from an visual point of view, if that makes any sense. Saw a blurry one and was struck by it and wanted to see more.

I have learnt who she is but do not want to spend much time on academic analyses of her photography. Listening to some dire presentations on YouTube, one going on for 20 mins. about her taking photographs in corners — no names, no pack-drill — one is drawn nonetheless by this inaccessible tripe to the fact that she was an artist who used a camera. So therein also, perhaps, photographic artist vs. installationist. If that also makes sense. She sets up a shot and then shoots it but not with video.

I feel there are parallels between her process and that of setting up a shot in a film. The mise-en-scene for one of her still images is often as meticulous as one might find in one of the classic films noted for it’s impeccable mis-en-scene.

Discussing the distinction between the artist as photographer and a photographer who is considered an artist of the trade is worthwhile. What’s the difference between Francesca Woodman and the war photography of Don MucCullin, say?



Francesca Woodman


A 39 1/2 min slide show also with music, but more soothing.


Interior geometries on Tumblr


A vast number of Francesca Woodmans. Some not Woodmans. Look enough elsewhere and this all falls into place. Some of these are not in the other places. Because it’s Tumblr, there are a number of repetitions. Most are not attributed or described or dated which would have been good. But hey, it’s Tumblr. Not particularly quick and easy to navigate but another way to get into her photography. ALSO SEE final remarks.


Wiki: Francesca Woodman has a table of Woodman’s photographs including links to where they can be found.


Google Images gives a good idea both of the extent of her work and how it has been taken up by all and sundry. Despite the photos being everywhere, there doesn’t seem to be one place where the vast majority of them are lodged online. And it’s hard work comparing sets of photos with so much duplication and overlap.


My recommendation is to search assiduously for her work online before delving into her life, then perhaps try:


The Woodmans [2010]


1 hr 20 min film based around family recollections, predominantly Dad’s. Both parents artists. Spanish subtitles which spoil it. So far not found a subtitle-free version. It is available on DVD. Watched this several months ago. It is The Woodman’s not Francesca Woodman, so is as well a promo for Mum and Dad’s art while at the same time telling us all about Francesca, which is o.k., but I have my reservations. That’s how they chose to make it, who am I to argue?


Francesca Woodman at SF MoMa- an artist decisively ahead of her time
By hannahkozak


Nice sepia set – half a dozen or so.


Francesca Woodman


by James Catchpole


Seriously essaying with three sets of photos sandwiched into the text.


Francesca Woodman, I’m trying my hand at fashion photography


Jonas Cuénin, The Eye of Photography, 28 February 28 2015


And finally, a great story. The top header photo is not by Francesca Woodman but by Greg Allum a British photographer. He explains in this July 2014 piece on his website:


The Francesca Woodman Conspiracy


If you are not an art expert specialising in Woodman, how do you know if what you are being told is a Woodman actually is? You don’t. It’s context. Because it’s with the others you are more likely to assume, expect, it to be a Woodman.

Searching the videos for good examples presenting a wide selection of Woodman photos, I found two which included the photo Greg says is his. I wrote to him pointing out the first one, then went away and found it again in a second video. He is amazed his photo has spread as a Woodman, but has not so far indicated any interest in proving it is his. In fact as you an see from his post, he has there a set of three Swirling Girls. Why was this particular one taken up and not the other two? Did he only put up the one or all three when he first put them online?

Who first got hold of his Woodmanesque Swirling Girl? The trail is there. Over to you Lloyd? Or is it over to David? Oh, never mind. Is Lloyd still alive?



March 18, 2016 - Posted by | Francesca Woodman | ,

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