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Barbara Cole
Courtesy Chris Wahl
Barbara Cole
Barbara Cole

Barbara Cole

Country: Canada
Birth: 1953

For the last forty-five years, artist Barbara Cole has been recapturing the otherworldly mysteries of early photography in a body of work that flows in and out of time.

Born in 1953 in Toronto, Canada, Cole, eager to shape a place for herself at an early age, quickly turned to art. Immediately out of high school, she began modeling for a newspaper and soon became fashion editor for the following ten years. Her early start in fashion and self-taught practice have informed her intuitive photography that undulates between tradition and invention. Her inventor's spirit is evident in her preference for raw, hands-on photographic methods. From turn-of-the-century cameras, shadow boxes, darkrooms, and tintypes-she engages directly in shaping her images in order to impart deeply personal truths.

The underwater photography for which Cole is most known started in the late 1990s. Once, submerged in her pool, she opened her eyes and what she saw reminded her of the Polaroid film she was so fond of until it eventually went out of production. She has been searching for timelessness ever since. The wavy, enigmatic waters are often juxtaposed against weightless figures, forming her signature, velvety dreamscapes. In these figures we see human beings who are just-just-on the verge of forming complete selves, suggesting we are always in the process of recreating ourselves, always striving to reach new heights.

As an innovator in her field, Cole ventures into territories full of light and shadow, memory and dreams, with imagery that is nothing short of exaltation. Whether reincorporating twenty-year-old images in current underwater photography, or reimagining a modern format for the turn-of-the-century tintype, Cole's work shortens the distance between past and present. For Cole history is written in water.

Cole has held numerous exhibitions across North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Her work has also been extensively commissioned internationally for corporate collections. She has exhibited in the Canadian Embassy in both Tokyo and Washington D.C. The acclaimed documentary series, Snapshot: The Art of Photography II, features an episode devoted exclusively to Cole's photographic practice.

Cole currently lives and works in Toronto.

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Finally I lost my soul - I fell emotionally in a Coma, which never ended and I lost all my passion for photography! Only after many painful and difficult years, then a miracle, my miracle! In September 2013, I suddenly felt a new and ever expectant strength in me. She became stronger and stronger and I got my second chance! I quickly realized that I may never work externally determined with photography again - so I had a strong desire to completely new and original ways to go in photography. And so the desire as an artist within the photograph was made to work. AAP: Do you have a mentor? PA: I am self-educator and have teach me everything completely yourself. I have been doing all learned to make all analog laboratory processes such as color negative films and slide films to develop or color enlargements and edit. But also all black & white I have processes teach me ... Method as bromoil print have inspired to my digital workflow in today's time to orient myself to it. I grew up with analog photography and this has shaped me first of all. Thus, I am now very well be able to touch this analog in my image processing to achieve! AAP: How long have you been a photographer? PA: I have worked for over 20 years as a professional photographer. Before that, I financed my studies in Biology with smaller photo jobs. My first photos were nature photography, macro photography of animals and plants. After this the portrait photograph was added. AAP: What or who inspires you? PA: Edward Steichen & Robert Mapplethorpe! Both have always touched my soul in a special way!But in general I consider myself away from These kinds of inspiration! It would be too manipulative and determined by others, to allow more of it than I do this currently... AAP: How could you describe your style? PA: My style has only an analog touch, which often is derived from the early days of analog photography. I am fascinated by this authenticity that has shaped this wonderful photography. The soul of this unique works is always a great motivator for my own photography! AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? PA: I'm using a Canon EOS mark II and a zoom ED 21-70 mm and a 100 mm lens for portraits. Lately I have been photographing with the camera of my Gallaxy S4 smartphones .. just for trying new. AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose? PA: My image processing is very complex and requires a lot of time, which I'm taking. Often I need this more than a week! It is a process, similar to an adventure through your own soul. I have to feel all this, sometimes in a painful way - they are pure emotions of myself, which I will in this work with integrate into my images. There is no motivation necessary because it is the pure passion, if the appropriate moment has arrived! It's all about that moment, that when my emotions are ready and my soul opens up entirely! AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? PA: Edward Steichen & Robert Mapplethorpe! AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? PA: My main advice is: Stay always hear and feel your self-determined and soul in your work! Everything should come from your heart and your soul and feed into your work. AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? PA: Photography is the dierekte wire to my soul - my pictures are the direct reflection of my soul .. this my pictures tell of my feelings and my emotions. Each photo tells its own to profound story. Each image is thus a profound adventure of a portion of my own soul! This means to me that photography today! AAP: Anything else you would like to share? PA: As a little boy I dreamed of good spirits and fairies - I was intrigued by this mystical world! And so this dream accompanied my life ... When I felt my soul again in September 2013, I knew very quickly with this message deal. I was aware that puts a special soul in some, few people! And this I felt ever again. So this new photography had to include this topic. "Ghosts & Fays" and "Souls"!
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