Frida Kahlo's photographic posing: a theoretical approach to visual autobiographies Articles uri icon



publication date

  • June 2019

start page

  • 277

end page

  • 290


  • 2


  • 28

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1356-9325


  • Artists' autobiographies have been considered primary sources of information in Art History, while photographic portraits are generally intended as mimetic representations. However, both of these registers can also act as rhetorical strategies for the artist to construct a certain image of him or herself, and some artists have used photography to directly defy certain theoretical pillars of traditional autobiography. Such is the case of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. As this article demonstrates, in certain photographs Kahlo's pose questions and undermines foundational notions of visual autobiographies. Through these photographic poses, she reveals the limits and obstacles of autobiographical practices to provide knowledge regarding an extra-diegetic point of reference. What is more, she ostentatiously displays her surgically operated body and distances herself from the standard image of normative bodies. In this way, Frida Kahlo builds and evokes her own photographic imaginary while transgressing some common features of traditional autobiographies.


  • photography; autobiography; self-portrait; fotograf√≠a; autobiograf√≠a; autorretrato; mexico; frida kahlo