n°24/ The Barefoot Contessa

June 2012

by Nathalie Azoulai

In the 1860s, Countess of Castiglione was the first auto-iconic photographic subject that chose to transform herself in front of Pierre Louis Pierson's camera. About one century later, two female artists followed her tracks with no need to be photographed by any man. Cindy Sherman and Sophie Calle achieved the autarcic project of a "Me Myself and I", escaping the Countess' sad destiny. For one should always remember that Napoleon III's magnificent mistress died a lonely poor barefoot woman, in full misery. What if she were both the subject and the photographer? Hopefully, women can now make their profit out of creation. Neither Calle nor Sherman won't end up broke and forsaken because of a lover's rejection.


Countess of Castiglione

Sophie Calle

Cindy Sherman