Edinburgh photographers inspired to create their own Self Evidence

In our 2019 exhibition ARTIST ROOMS Self Evidence: Photographs by Woodman, Arbus and Mapplethorpe, three of the twentieth century’s most influential photographers explored the thorny art of self-representation. From Francesca Woodman’s experimental images, to Diane Arbus’ raw, compassionate documentary photography, to the touching self-portraits that track the final years of Robert Mapplethorpe’s life – Self Evidence presented us with an extraordinary range of ways to express our inner selves through photography.

Robert Mapplethorpe Self Portrait 1986; printed 1996 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Francesca Woodman Space², Providence, Rhode Island 1976 © Woodman Family Foundation. Artist’s Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2023

In April, Self Evidence received a visit from the brilliant members of Women in Focus in Edinburgh or WIFIE.

WIFIE is an independent photography group for women living in and around Edinburgh – and they were inspired by the exhibition to take their own self-portraits. The results are a fascinating reflection of the works within the exhibition and of the talented photographers themselves.

Group members Margaret Drysdale and Denise McNulty were inspired by Francesca Woodman’s experimental photographs that exquisitely balance performance and self-exposure. As Woodman did in her photography, they played with the idea of coming or leaving the photo and the effect of movement on the piece. Caroline Armstrong, meanwhile, was inspired by the bold, direct style of Diane Arbus’ documentary photography, and Margaret Thomson was inspired by Robert Mapplethorpe’s unflinching, fiercely human self-portraits. Take a look through these and other photographs taken by members of the group below.

Margaret Thomson, Self Portrait, 2019
Denise McNulty, Self Portrait, 2019
Margaret Munro, Self Portrait, 2019
Deb Ball, Self Portrait, 2019
Margaret Drysdale, Self Portrait, 2019
Damiana Magris, Self Portrait, 2019
Meg Walker, Self Portrait, 2019

We’re always hoping to inspire through our collections and exhibitions, and to have been such a clear source of inspiration for WIFIE is incredibly exciting.

We hope it helped challenge and develop their skills and point-of-view as photographers, and it was a thrill to see the final photos.

14 June 2019