Jo Spence was a key figure on the left-wing London art scene in the 1970s and 80s. She combined her feminist criticism with criticism of the limited formalist use of photography in the field of art. Her (often collaborative) artistic activity did not result in individual photographic images that can be judged only on the basis of their formal aesthetic content. Her images also reflect the photographic technique (as in the case of contact prints that also make the means of photographic production visible) and allow room for documentary and political commitment. Jo Spence developed a brave and versatile collection of photographic self-portraits outside the canons imposed by the matriarchal society, also including her fight against her own breast cancer.
1934-1992, lived and worked in London
JO SPENCE, PHOTO THERAPY: LOVE ON A PLATE (COLLABORATION WITH TIM SHEARD) (PHOTOTHÉRAPIE : L'AMOUR DANS UNE ASSIETTE (COLLABORATION AVEC TIM SHEARD)), 1989, © JO SPENCE MEMORIAL ARCHIVE, RYERSON IMAGE CENTRE (TORONTO), COURTESY OF RICHARD SALTOUN GALLERY, LONDON