Francesca Woodman (USA, April 3, 1958 – January 19, 1981) was a photographer best known for her black and white pictures featuring herself and female models. Many of her photographs show young women who are nude, who are blurred (due to movement and long exposure times), who are merging with their surroundings, or whose faces are obscured. Her work continues to be the subject of much attention, years after she committed suicide at the age of 22.
Francesca Woodman was born April 3, 1958, in Denver, Colorado, to well-known artists George Woodman and Betty Woodman. Her older brother Charles later became an associate professor of electronic art. Her mother is Jewish and her father is from a Protestant background.
Woodman attended public school in Boulder, Colorado, between 1963 and 1971 except for second grade in Italy. She began high school in 1972 at the private Massachusetts boarding school Abbot Academy, where she began to develop her photographic skills. Abbot Academy merged with Phillips Academy in 1973; Woodman graduated from the public Boulder High School in 1975. Through 1975, she spent summers with her family in Italy. She spent her time in Italy in the Florentine countryside, where she lived on an old farm with her parents.
Beginning in 1975, Woodman attended the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island. She studied in Rome between 1977 and 1978 in a RISD honors program. As she spoke fluent Italian, she was able to befriend Italian intellectuals and artists. She went back to Rhode Island in late 1978 to graduate from RISD.