Frida Shoot - August 12, 2011
Frida Kahlo Shoot
This shoot was inspired by an exhibition of Kahlo and Rivera at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin this summer. It was such a massive thrill to see Frida’s work, full sized and with room to breath. I went along 3 times, hoping for some alone time with the lady but the exhibition was packed out from morning to night which just goes to show how broad her appeal is.
When I was putting together this shoot I spent a lot of time considering what references to use while still bringing something fresh to the images. It was important for me to include the corsetry that she had to wear since the horrific road accident she suffered as a teenager; Her masculine side and bisexuality; Her sense of morbidity; Her wedding outfit; Her bold use of colour;
The gold that runs through the pictures relates to her status as an icon.
When she was close to the end of her life Frida wrote “I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return”. The irony is that she has returned many times since then through the creative efforts of those she has inspired…
Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) turned her attention away from the study of medicine to begin a full-time painting career after suffering major injuries from a road traffic accident. The accident left her in a great deal of pain while she recovered in a full body cast and she painted to occupy her time during her temporary state of immobilization. Her self-portraits became a dominant part of her life. “I paint myself because I am often alone and I am the subject I know best” reflects her inner feelings about both her art and her psychological state.
Drawing on personal experiences including her troubled marriage, her painful miscarriages, and her numerous operations, Kahlo’s works are often characterized by their stark portrayals of pain. Of her 143 paintings, fifty-five are self-portraits, which frequently incorporate symbolic portrayals of her physical and psychological wounds. While Kahlo’s paintings have a distinct unrealistic quality, she insisted “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.” It is evident that her paintings reveal a personal truth about her life, her experiences, and her inner personal emotion. Kahlo was deeply influenced by indigenous Mexican culture, which is apparent in her paintings’ bright colours and dramatic symbolism. She combined elements of the classic religious Mexican tradition with surrealist renderings. While her paintings are not overtly Christian they certainly contain elements of the Mexican Christian style of religious paintings.
In 1939, at the invitation of André Breton she went to France and had an exhibition of her paintings in Paris. The Louvre bought one of her paintings, The Frame, its first work by a 20th-century Mexican artist.
-‘Kahlo’, by Andrea Kettenmann. Taschen 2002