I love the connections between these photographs by Francesca Woodman. Both are feminist pieces (and obviously stunning!) in my opinion. The first positions Woodman’s girl-like face and ribbon with a more developed body through breasts and underarm hair. I really dig this part of the image because it is really quite subtle but entirely transforms the image from look at me to what are you looking at? So much strength and power as woman is conveyed.
The second image is cropped in a similar way and while the subject matter is also similar it expresses another concept. The idea of submission and rape come to my mind. Woodman’s face and body language retreat, her arms up and blank face saying ‘take me’, ‘do what you want with me’. Her hands scream I am innocent, don’t shoot through a familiar gesture, but the painted hand on Woodman’s chest indicates violation, unacknowledged hands. We can tell it is her hand that she has painted around, but ideas of other hands touching her come to mind. Combined with her submissive position, and the police aspects (hands up, painted body outline from crime scenes) this adds a sinister aspect which really makes the image so amazing. Francesca Woodman, you were one talented photographer. Thank you for sharing yourself with us, we are lucky.
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I found Rhiannon Schneiderman‘s ‘Lady Mane’ series on The Ardorous (curated by Petra Collins) and fell in love with both the concept and execution. These amazing self-portraits reclaim pubic hair in a refreshing, beautiful manner. As women have fallen out with pubic hair, choosing to wax, shave, pluck and attempt anything for it to go away, I am happy to see a generation returning affection to the bush. Schneiderman’s series is all about empowerment, reclaiming femininity as a woman rather than adhering to male-approved versions. The series is powerful and highlights the hilarity of the modern-day emphasis given to make ones genitals fashionable. Each ‘lady mane’ is different and reminds us that, yes, it is okay to do whatever we want with out pubic hair. It is ours, nobody else should get a say. Here’s my four favourite pieces from the eight-part series. Enjoy x
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Frida Kahlo was a Mexican painter and rather interesting woman. Through her life she suffered greatly as the result from a vehicle accident, where the bus she was on collided with a trolley car. Frida was 18. One result of this was an iron handrail piercing her abdomen and uterus, which meant reproductive trouble. While she conceived three times, she couldn’t carry to term, and had to terminate her pregnancies. She was born on July 6, which makes her the most maternal sign of the zodiac, Cancer. But her accident turned her towards art and painting. She commonly painted self-portraits, as a way to deal with her trauma, but also because she knew herself so well. She has stated “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
Her work is quite captivating, and honest and raw. Her work often had a lot of nature in it, which makes sense to me with Frida being a Cancer whom often love animals. It would make sense that she could be drawn to animals and nature as a way to express her emotions. I like these three pieces by her.
I recently remembered Frida because I noticed that a few artists I follow were doing their own portraits of her. So, I want to share these also. Cate Rangel’s piece connects more to the pain and life of Frida, whereas Liz Clements is very obviously Liz Clements style (which is a great style, but speaks less about Frida as a person). They both have hummingbirds in them, which is interesting.
A wonderful woman worth sharing.
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