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Celebrate the work of three of the 20th century’s most influential photographers.

With a particular focus on self-portraiture and representation, the show explores the connections and similarities between these three Americans, each of whom produced bodies of work that were revolutionary, ground-breaking and at times controversial.

Francesca Woodman began exploring self-identity through photography at 13 years old and continued to experiment and develop her practice in the following decade until her tragically early death in 1981. Her photographs speak to her agency in being both the subject and creator of the work.

Drawing from the significant holding of Diane Arbus within ARTIST ROOMS (a touring collection of over 1,600 works of modern and contemporary art), the exhibition will include the limited-edition portfolio, A Box of Ten Photographs (1969-1971), which was selected by Arbus herself and, as such, can be seen as representing her creative expression and how she wished to be seen as a photographer.

Finally a series of portraits of Robert Mapplethorpe explores the photographer’s varying personas, and poignantly documents his declining health as a result of contracting AIDS. The exhibition marks the 30th anniversary of his death.

Please note this exhibition features some images which some visitors may find unsuitable. These include a small selection of works which depict nudity and a sexual act. The latter is only visible once you have moved beyond the first section of the show.

Artist Rooms

Scottish National Portrait Gallery

1 Queen Street, Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH2 1JD

01316 246200


Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5pm. (6pm during August).

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