Mackenzie Hamilton photographed by Richard Bush for Vogue China August 2007

Madame X (detail) by John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
oil on canvas, 1883-4

Nan Goldin, Honda Brothers in cherry blossom storm, Tokyo, 1994

Carla Orner
Views of earth

Francesca Woodman: Untitled, 1975-80

Crouched against a dilapidated interior, Woodman conceals her face with her hand. The combination between the vintage pattern of her dress and the peeling wall behind her create an antique, romantic air. Woodman’s photographs exhibit many influences, from Symbolism and Surrealism to fashion photography and Baroque painting. She explores issues of gender and self, looking at the representation of the body in relation to its surroundings. Woodman usually puts herself in the frame, although these are not conventional self-portraits, since as she is either partially hidden, or concealed by slow exposures that blur her moving figure into a ghostly presence. This underlying fragility is emphasised by the small and intimate format of the photographs.

"She is a problem because she is a seducer, and I — I mean we — love to be seduced, though we also resent it, and she is a problem because she is a suicide, and suicides are seductive because we all want to die sometimes, and dead young women artists and dead women artists of any age are a problem because it has always been easier for this culture to love their artworks when they, the women, are not alive to interfere with our relations with them, and her precocity was and remains a problem because of its completeness and because precocity is also always resented and dismissed, and she is a problem because it has historically been too easy to praise what is dead and too difficult to nurture what lives, and she is a problem because she is a martyr and ours is a culture addicted to martyrs and martyrology and powered by competition and self-loathing, which leads to the wrong kind of death, and she is a problem because the relation between life and nonlife or the animate and the inanimate is the subject of her photographs and this is too easily mistaken for merely gothy or pre-Raphaelite morbidity or Surrealistish oneirism, and she is a problem because when I look at her pictures I identify with them completely and therefore resent analyzing them as I resent mere praise or critique, and she is a problem because I cannot deny that I identify not only with her images but with real and documented aspects of her despair, and she is a problem because she was not only female but feminine in ways that have caused her work to have been seen as insufficiently critical or insufficiently conscious of its critical potential, and she is a problem because the fact that she appears in her own photographs has caused many to mistake them for self-portraits which they are not, and she is a problem because her photographs do not merely contain elements of nostalgia but they produce nostalgia plastically, though this ache of desire for something somehow lost or past cannot be located in mere mundane time and little resembles her actual times, in a manner analogous to the way Proust’s In Search of Lost Time manufactures its own time, which cannot but trump actual history even as it is generous enough to include it."

excerpt from An Hourglass Figure: On Photographer Francesca Woodman by Ariana Reines

The most important piece ever written about Francesca Woodman, in my opinion

(via kalliope-amorphous)

takato yamamoto