In this excerpt from her talk at Aperture Gallery coinciding with her exhibition, Barbara Crane: Private Views, Crane speaks about the polaroids from her series Private Views taken in Chicago in the 1980s. Crane describes how she came to photographing the crowds during large summer festivals in movement with her large Super Speed Graphic camera and what she was looking for when making images. She also explains how it took her more than 25 years to edit these images in a book.
About Private Views:
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.