Francesca Woodman, fellow RISD Alum and one of my favorite photographers of the 70s is now the subject of a new film showing at the Tribeca Film Fest. I haven't seen the movie yet but it seems to be mostly about her relation to her family and the way they dealt with her death and memory since she committed suicide in 1981. Francesca's work is important due to its ability to use photography to take the at that time recent art movements of body and performance art, land art, and feminist art into a solidified and more current medium of photography. They also play with the early history of photography which in the 1800s was used primarily for portraits of the deceased and documentation of mental patients and supernatural occurances. Much of the work examines the experience of being young and female but in a way that claimed the female body as her own medium instead of someone else's muse. The work she is best known for was done while an undergrad at RISD, in the Rome honors program, and at the MacDowell Colony residency in New Hampshire.
I think its interesting that this new film goes at the topic of work through the family that was left behind to keep her memory in tact. Both of her parents and her brother are all artists and in many ways this is unsurprising. Often times the type of family that will support a child in attending art school, or in this case, support a child in getting naked and morbid and wild and taking photos of it - well often times that family has some understanding of art or already has an artist in the family. Yet, the prospect of taking care of the legacy of your deceased child's art career must be doubled in pain for parents who never reached the same level of notoriety with their own work. This seems to be what The Woodmans sets out to explore and I'm very interested in seeing the outcome.