Woman Smoking At The Window Diana Sosnowska

‘Woman Smoking at The Window’ by UK photographer Diana Sosnowska is a carefully staged photographic self-portrait taken in the artist’s former apartment in Edinburgh, Scotland, on the eve of the pandemic’s spread throughout the UK in 2020. Inspired by midcentury fashion and aesthetics, the photographer references the paintings of Edward Hopper and pays tribute to his 1961 work ‘A Woman in the Sun’. Like Hopper’s piece, the central figure gazes outside the frame while gently illuminated by the muted light of the otherwise bleak grey horizons, both literal and metaphoric. This dull but yellow light casts an ineffable aura around the subject, only compounded by her averted posture. The melancholy mood which permeates the composition is further emphasised by a restrained palette of soft yet nostalgic tones. The viewer is placed in the middle ground, occupying the void between artist and subject, a voyeuristic role assigned to us by the photographer and cued by her oft symbolic use of windows. Sosnowska invites the viewer to collect her carefully staged details and weave them together to form a narrative.

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