In this first part of her talk at Aperture Gallery coinciding with the book and exhibition, Barbara Crane: Private Views, Crane presents a large retrospective view of her work from the last 45 years. She begins with her first foray into art photography experimenting with technical processes. She describes her process as a system of layering images, whether conceptually or literally.
Throughout the years she has altered her process immensely; originally she was very dedicated to working in the darkroom and now she is very reliant on processing her images digitally. Crane also describes her systematic way of working in many different series instead of creating long-term bodies of work.
Crane presents her work from Private Views more specifically. In the early 1980s, photographer Barbara Crane embarked on a photographic project shot during Chicago’s various summer festivals. Armed with a Super Speed Graphic camera and Polaroid film, Crane waded in close to the revelers and focused on capturing the details of clothing and hairstyles, but most importantly, gesture. The images are tightly cropped and terrifically alive, viscerally bringing us into the crush of people eating, drinking, and enjoying the crowd dynamic—an incredible inventory of private gestures performed in public spaces.
The collective effect of the images in the Aperture book and exhibition Private Views is mesmerizing and intensely compelling, creating a palpable sensuality from image to image—an astonishing document, not of a particular event or personality, but of something far less tangible: the public expression of euphoria. Private Views is a celebration of the classic 1980s Polaroid snapshot with an experimental flair; Crane’s mixture of natural light and flash combined with her use of Polaroid film highlights the primary colors of ’80s fashion, which still feels hip and contemporary today.
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