Property of Jo Spence?.

  • Spence, Jo
Part of:
Picture of health?
  • Pictures
  • Online

About this work


Half-length self-portrait of Jo Spence, naked, with a dressing and 'Property of Jo Spence?' written in black marker on her left breast.



Physical description

1 photograph : black and white print ; sheet 40.4 x 30.4 cm

Biographical note

Jo Spence (1934 - 1992) started as a commercial photographer, from the 1970s she moved to critical documentary photography. In 1974 she met her long-term collaborator, Terry Dennett, with whom she established the Photography Workshop Ltd. Her work was both politically aware and personal, considering social issues, sexuality, power and health. She worked collaboratively throughout her career, in the 1970s and early 80s with the Hackney Flashers and Polysnappers, and in 1984, she developed Photo-therapy with Rosy Martin. Diagnosed with cancer in 1982 much of her subsequent work reflected her experiences, including the A picture of health? series (1982-86). In 1990 she was diagnosed with leukemia, and The final project work was a response to this. She wrote extensively, and in 1984 published Putting myself in the picture.


Jo Spence. 1982. Property of Jo Spence? [Photograph]. Wellcome Collection 3049393i

References note

Reproduced in Spence, J. (1988). Putting myself in the picture, page 157.
Spence, J. (2005). Jo Spence: beyond the perfect image. photography, subjectivity, antagonism. Barcelona: Museu dArt Contemporani de Barcelona, page 270.

Creator/production credits

Created in collaboration with Terry Dennett.

Exhibitions note

Exhibited in "Misbehaving Bodies", Wellcome Collection, 30 May 2019 - 26 January 2020


Title taken from text in photograph.
The image was included in 'A picture of health?' project (1982-86).

Ownership note

Purchased by Wellcome Collection in 2016 from the Estate of Jo Spence through teh Richard Saltoun Gallery, London. Richard Saltoun stock codes: JOS1314 & JOS088.


Where to find it

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