ANGELS AND DEMONS - Before and behind the lens
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, photography came to a crossroads. Many photographers who had previously worked in the classic black-and-white tradition began exploring new approaches and taking documentary photography in more subjective and surrealistic directions. The USA was at the forefront, initiating a process in art institutions that involved museums and galleris engaging more professionally with photography. This change in the field eventually spread to Europe.
One photographer who launched her short but intense career during this period was Francesca Woodman (1958-1981). She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, but also lived and worked in Rome and New York. Her oeuvre includes a large number of self-portraits, exploring issues of gender, representation, sexuality and the body.
Duane Michals is among the photographers who inspired Woodman. He represents a more conceptual approach. In his photographic narratives, he reflects on themes such as death, homosexuality and dreams. Around this time, 1977 and onwards, Cindy Sherman also embarked on her series of Untitled Film Stills, which was to be her major breakthrough. She belongs to what is known as the Pictures Generation - a group of postmodern artists, many of them women, who emerged in the early 1980s.