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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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More Great Photographers To Discover

George Tice
United States
1938
George A. Tice is an American photographer, best known for his meticulously crafted black and white prints in silver gelatin and platinum, as well as his books, which depict a broad range of American life, landscape, and urban environment, mostly photographed in his native New Jersey, where he has lived all his life, except for his service in the U. S. Navy, a brief period in California, a fellowship in the United Kingdom, and summer workshops in Maine, where he taught at the Maine Photographic Workshops, now the Maine Media Workshops. George A. Tice, born in Newark, New Jersey, October 13, 1938, was the son of a college-educated New Jerseyan, William S. Tice, and Margaret Robertson, a Traveller of Irish, Scottish, and Welsh stock with a fourth grade education. George was raised by his mother, maintaining regular visiting contact with his father, whose influence and advice he valued highly. His first contact with photography was in the albums of family photographs belonging to his father, and this gave him the desire to create images of his own. He began with a Kodak Brownie. In 1953, having bought a Kodak Pony, which gave him some control over exposure and focus, and a Kodak developing kit, he began to advance his craft. He also joined the Carteret Camera Club. George Tice's photographs of homeless men on the Bowery won second place in the black and white print competitions. He decided at this point to make photography his career. In 1955 he attended the Newark Vocational and Technical High School, where he briefly studied commercial photography under Harve Wobbe. When he turned sixteen, he quit school and took a job as a darkroom assistant for Classic Photo, a portrait studio in Newark. He also worked as a stock boy at Kreske's Department Store in Newark, then as an office boy in the circulation department of the Newark Evening News. It was at this job he learned about the death of the actor James Dean through a clipping about his death. Tice later adopted Dean as one of his subjects in Hometowns: An American Pilgrimage. In 1956 Tice enlisted in the United States Navy, in which he rose to the rank of Photographer's Mate Third Class. After boot camp and two years at Naval Air Station Memphis, he was transferred to sea duty aboard the aircraft carrier, USS Wasp (CV-18). One of the photographs he made on board, Explosion Aboard the U.S.S. Wasp, 1959, was published on the front page of the New York Times. Edward Steichen, then Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, was struck by the image and requested a print for the Museum collection. In that same year Tice received his honorable discharge.Source: Wikipedia George Tice is drawn to vestiges of American culture on the verge of extinction-from people in rural or small-town communities to suburban buildings and neighborhoods that are often in decline. Although he has photographed throughout the Northwestern United States, he is best known for pictures of his native New Jersey, and the impeccable quality of his black-and-white prints. In the 1960s, Tice shifted from smaller camera formats to larger ones, which enabled him to craft carefully toned and detailed prints. He portrayed traditional Amish and Shaker communities, as well as the hard lives of fishermen in Maine. In the 1970s, Tice began exploring his home state. Those photographs formed the beginnings of his Urban Landscapes series, which he worked on until the year 2000. His publications include: Fields of Peace: A Pennsylvania German Album (1970), Paterson, New Jersey (1972), Seacoast Maine: People and Places (1973), Urban Landscapes: A New Jersey Portrait (1975), and Hometowns: An American Pilgrimage (1988). Tice has taught at the Maine Photographic Workshops since 1977.Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum By 1970, thanks in part to shows and sales of his work through Witkin, Tice was able to concentrate entirely on his own photography. The extended photographic essay is an important part of Tice’s work. The form and process of each project is an investigation leading to a book. Tice taught a master class at The New School, NYC and the Maine Media Workshop for over twenty-five years. Tice has had eighteen books published to date. His first book Fields of Peace, documented the life of Amish and Mennonite communities of Pennsylvania. In the late 1960’s, Tice began exploring his home state and those photographs formed the beginnings of two of his best-known books: Urban Landscapes, A New Jersey Portrait, (1975) and Paterson, (1972), with sequels, George Tice : Urban Landscapes in 2002, Common Mementos in 2005 and Paterson II in 2006. One of his most recent book Seldom Seen (2013) is a collection of previously unpublished photographs. James Rhem states in an article in Focus Magazine, “The stillness in what Tice himself describes as the “sad beauty” of his urban scenes has a different weight, the weight of history, not moments, but stories evolving.” His photographs have been exhibited internationally and are represented in the collections of many institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Whitney Museum of Art, Newark Museum and the The Bibliothèque nationale de France. He has received fellowships and commissions from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the National Media Museum, (UK). In 2003, he received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from William Paterson University. Tice, a 10th generation New Jerseyan, makes his home on the Jersey Shore.Source: The Lucie Awards
Julia Margaret Cameron
United Kingdom
1815 | † 1879
Julia Margaret Cameron (née Pattle; 11 June 1815 – 26 January 1879) was a British photographer. She became known for her portraits of celebrities of the time, and for photographs with Arthurian and other legendary themes. Cameron's photographic career was short, spanning eleven years of her life (1864–1875). She took up photography at the relatively late age of 48, when she was given a camera as a present. Although her style was not widely appreciated in her own day, her work has had an impact on modern photographers, especially her closely cropped portraits. Her house, Dimbola Lodge, on the Isle of Wight is open to the public. Julia Margaret Cameron was born Julia Margaret Pattle in Calcutta, India, to James Pattle, a British official of the East India Company, and Adeline de l'Etang. Adeline de l'Etang was the daughter of Chevalier Antoine de l'Etang, who had been a page and probable lover of Marie Antoinette and an officer in the Garde du Corps of King Louis XVI. He had married the Indian-born Therese Blin de Grincourt a daughter of French aristocrats. Julia was from a family of celebrated beauties, and was considered an ugly duckling among her sisters. As her great-niece Virginia Woolf wrote in the 1926 introduction to the Hogarth Press collection of Cameron's photographs, "In the trio [of sisters] where...[one] was Beauty; and [one] Dash; Mrs. Cameron was undoubtedly Talent". Cameron's sister Virginia was the mother of the temperance leader Lady Henry Somerset. Cameron was educated in France, but returned to India, and in 1838 married Charles Hay Cameron, a jurist and member of the Law Commission stationed in Calcutta, who was twenty years her senior. In 1848, Charles Hay Cameron retired, and the family moved to London, England. Cameron's sister, Sarah Prinsep, had been living in London and hosted a salon at Little Holland House, the dower house of Holland House in Kensington, where famous artists and writers regularly visited. In 1860, Cameron visited the estate of poet Alfred Lord Tennyson on the Isle of Wight. Julia was taken with the location, and the Cameron family purchased a property on the island soon after. They called it Dimbola Lodge after the family's Ceylon estate. In 1863, when Cameron was 48 years old, her daughter gave her a camera as a present, thereby starting her career as a photographer. Within a year, Cameron became a member of the Photographic Societies of London and Scotland. In her photography, Cameron strove to capture beauty. She wrote, "I longed to arrest all the beauty that came before me and at length the longing has been satisfied." The basic techniques of soft-focus "fancy portraits", which she later developed, were taught to her by David Wilkie Wynfield. She later wrote that "to my feeling about his beautiful photography I owed all my attempts and indeed consequently all my success". Lord Tennyson, her neighbour on the Isle of Wight, often brought friends to see the photographer. Cameron was sometimes obsessive about her new occupation, with subjects sitting for countless exposures in the blinding light as she laboriously coated, exposed, and processed each wet plate. The results were, in fact, unconventional in their intimacy and their particular visual habit of created blur through both long exposures, where the subject moved and by leaving the lens intentionally out of focus. This led some of her contemporaries to complain and even ridicule the work, but her friends and family were supportive, and she was one of the most prolific and advanced of amateurs in her time. Her enthusiasm for her craft meant that her children and others sometimes tired of her endless photographing, but it also means that we are left with some of the best of records of her children and of the many notable figures of the time who visited her. During her career, Cameron registered each of her photographs with the copyright office and kept detailed records. Her shrewd business sense is one reason that so many of her works survive today. Another reason that many of Cameron's portraits are significant is because they are often the only existing photograph of historical figures. Many paintings and drawings exist, but, at the time, photography was still a new and challenging medium for someone outside a typical portrait studio. The bulk of Cameron's photographs fit into two categories – closely framed portraits and illustrative allegories based on religious and literary works. In the allegorical works in particular, her artistic influence was clearly Pre-Raphaelite, with far-away looks and limp poses and soft lighting. Cameron's sister ran the artistic scene at Little Holland House, which gave her many famous subjects for her portraits. Some of her famous subjects include: Charles Darwin, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, John Everett Millais, William Michael Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Ellen Terry and George Frederic Watts. Most of these distinctive portraits are cropped closely around the subject's face and are in soft focus. Cameron was often friends with these Victorian celebrities, and tried to capture their personalities in her photos. Among Cameron's lesser-known images are those she took of Mary Emily ('May') Prinsep, wife of Hallam Tennyson, 2nd Baron Tennyson, the elder son of Alfred Tennyson and a British colonial administrator. Cameron's portraits of May Prinsep, taken on the Isle of Wight, show a somewhat plain woman shot head-on and without affect. Cameron's posed photographic illustrations represent the other half of her work. In these illustrations, she frequently photographed historical scenes or literary works, which often took the quality of oil paintings. However, she made no attempt in hiding the backgrounds. Cameron's friendship with Tennyson led to him asking her to photograph illustrations for his Idylls of the King. These photographs are designed to look like oil paintings from the same time period, including rich details like historical costumes and intricate draperies. Today, these posed works are sometimes dismissed by art critics. Nevertheless, Cameron saw these photographs as art, just like the oil paintings they imitated. In 1875, the Camerons moved back to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Julia continued to practice photography but complained in letters about the difficulties of getting chemicals and pure water to develop and print photographs. Also, in India, she did not have access to Little Holland House's artistic community. She also did not have a market to distribute her photographs as she had in England. Because of this, Cameron took fewer pictures in India. These pictures were of posed Indian people, paralleling the posed pictures that Cameron had taken of neighbours in England. Almost none of Cameron's work from India survives. Cameron caught a bad chill and died in Kalutara, Ceylon in 1879. Cameron's niece Julia Prinsep Stephen (née Jackson; 1846–1895) wrote the biography of Cameron, which appeared in the first edition of the Dictionary of National Biography, 1886. Julia Stephen was the mother of Virginia Woolf, who wrote a comic portrayal of the "Freshwater circle" in her only play Freshwater. Woolf edited, with Roger Fry, a collection of Cameron's photographs. However, it was not until 1948 that her photography became more widely known when Helmut Gernsheim wrote a book on her work. In 1977 Gernsheim noted that although a great photographer, Cameron had "left no mark" on the aesthetic history of photography because her work was not appreciated by her contemporaries and thus not imitated. But this situation was evidently already changing by then thanks to his popularisation of her work, for instance in 1975 Imogen Cunningham had commented "I'd like to see portrait photography go right back to Julia Margaret Cameron. I don't think there's anyone better." In 2013, Getty Images says in its caption of a portrait of Alice Liddell (whom Cameron photographed as Alethea, Pomona, Ceres, and St. Agnes in 1872) that "Cameron's photographic portraits are considered among the finest in the early history of photography". Source: Wikipedia
Bill Brandt
Germany/United Kingdom
1904 | † 1983
Born in Hamburg, Germany, son of a British father and German mother, Brandt grew up during World War I, during which his father, who had lived in Germany since the age of five, was interned for six months by the Germans as a British citizen. Brandt later disowned his German heritage and would claim he was born in South London. Shortly after the war, he contracted tuberculosis and spent much of his youth in a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland. He traveled to Vienna to undertake a course of treatment for tuberculosis by psychoanalysis. He was, in any case, pronounced cured and was taken under the wing of socialite Eugenie Schwarzwald. When Ezra Pound visited the Schwarzwald residence, Brandt made his portrait. In appreciation, Pound allegedly offered Brandt an introduction to Man Ray, in whose Paris studio Brandt would assist in 1930. In 1933 Brandt moved to London and began documenting all levels of British society. This kind of documentary was uncommon at that time. Brandt published two books showcasing this work, The English at Home (1936) and A Night in London (1938). He was a regular contributor to magazines such as Lilliput, Picture Post, and Harper's Bazaar. He documented the Underground bomb shelters of London during The Blitz in 1940, commissioned by the Ministry of Information. During World War II, Brandt focused every kind of subject - as can be seen in his "Camera in London" (1948) but excelled in portraiture and landscape. To mark the arrival of peace in 1945 he began a celebrated series of nudes. His major books from the post-war period are Literary Britain (1951), and Perspective of Nudes (1961), followed by a compilation of the best of all areas of his work, Shadow of Light (1966). Brandt became Britain's most influential and internationally admired photographer of the 20th century. Many of his works have important social commentary but also poetic resonance. His landscapes and nudes are dynamic, intense and powerful, often using wide-angle lenses and distortion. Brandt died in London in 1983.Source: Wikipedia Bill Brandt was one of the acknowledged masters of 20th century photography. Taken as a whole, his work constitutes one of the most varied and vivid social documents of Great Britain. Brandt was largely self-taught in photography and worked as a student-assistant to Man-Ray in Paris from 1929 to 1930. This exposure would determine the surrealist undercurrent and tension of many of Brandt’s images. Brandt’s work was shown in numerous exhibitions throughout Europe and the US during his career, including two one-person exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in 1948 and 1969. There are over a dozen published books of his work from the 1930s through the 1980s. Brandt’s work was extensively collected by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.Source: The Halsted Gallery
Isabeau De Rouffignac
I followed an artistic career path with a drawing baccalaureate, 2 years of preparatory classes at the Met de Penninghen studio, then I entered the graphic art school. This was followed by a long experience in design agencies (Design Strategy Orchestra), communication agencies (CPP) and manufacturing agencies (Vision Prod) as an employee and then as a freelancer since 1999. It is this status that will allow me to devote myself to photography, which I discovered in the 2000s. It was a revelation, and soon became obvious. Since then, I have been photographing worlds far and near, between a documentary approach and a resolutely artistic approach. A line of conduct, like a thread that runs through my work and gives it coherence: approaching the other, taming them, taking the time, learning their language, being forgotten, with a gaze that is always curious and fundamentally empathetic. Four photographic editions were born from this work. Since 2017, I devote all my time to photography. And although I have an initial training that integrates the work of the image and a long-standing photographic practice, I felt the need to go further, to question my writing, and I have therefore attended several workshops and training courses. (Arles, Cifap, Gobelins) In 2018, I became a member of Studio Hans Lucas Today, the more I advance in my artistic practice, the more I approach my projects from a documentary point of view, but with an aesthetic or even plastic approach from the start. By mixing these different ways of working on my subject, I leave the imposed categories (documentary, plastic photography, etc.) to invent my own language that allows me to convey a message (environmental, social, humanitarian, political, etc.). This is the case in my latest work in India, pleas. In Bhopal, they point out the consequences of the worst chemical disaster the world has ever known, and in Rajsamand, they tell of the difficult working conditions of the miners. Statement An intuition, a call following the reading of an article or a book, moves me from my daily life in the metropolis and I set off to meet the other. The country is always far away, the situation speaks of a reprieve. Through photography I seek an encounter with the other, the other in what is different about him, his way of life, his language, which I try as much as possible to learn in order to be in touch with him. I am looking for an encounter with a place that also has its own language that often says the impalpable, what does not always appear at first sight, a place to be deciphered. In these encounters, I also seek an encounter with myself, because the other person questions me, challenges me, shakes up my preconceptions, pushes me to question myself. In my last work on the miners of Rajasthan, I sought to pay tribute to men in pain, working in sandstone or marble quarries, working without safety clothing, for a ridiculous salary, without a work contract, and more than half of whom suffer from silicosis because they work without masks. In most of my other photographic works, I try to bear witness but also to show a cultural heritage that is on the verge of disappearing, and to talk about those who keep it alive and often fight against a progressive assimilation. Of course, the time needed for these encounters, for this acceptance by the communities in which I immerse myself, implies taking time. A lot of time. It is the only way to establish the links that open doors, give access to knowledge, beliefs, and sometimes even confidences. Learning the Hindi language has helped me to better understand the personal stories of all the men and women I have photographed, to understand the distress that lies behind their dignity. I try to document the issues through personal stories that are each unique and singular. This is what I have done here with the miners of Rajasthan, or previously with the women of Bhopal, the postmen of Rajasthan, or the Akhas of Thailand. I offer you my view, nourished by what my encounters have revealed to me, my way of documenting it, as close as possible or with distance when necessary. A view that I hope will open up the possibility of better understanding, or at least of trying. That's already a lot.
Josephine Cardin
Dominican Republic
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Josephine Cardin is a fine arts photographer who grew up in South Florida, until moving to Boston, MA in 2006.Presently, Cardin has been developing her figurative work, inspired by music, dance, and the human themes of loneliness, isolation, melancholy, love and loss. Cardin uses both dancers, and self-portraiture to illustrate scenes that bewitch, seduce, and explore our human sensibilities; through abstract stories with a visual dialogue between the subject and the artist created through a symbiosis of harmonic gestures and magnetic artistry.Cardin's work has been published in The Spoiler�s Hand, Lucy�s, Canto, beau BU, Scope, F-Stop, and Dance Magazines; Playbill, and the book Meet The Dancers. She has exhibited with The Professional Woman Photographers, The Boca Raton Museum of Art Juried Exhibition, and with The Woman in The Visual Arts. Most recently Cardin received and honorable mention for the 2014 Julia Margaret Cameron Awards, and was selected as a finalist for the PhotoNola/International House Mary Magdalene Exhibit in New Orleans. She has done work for the Boston Ballet, Rochester City Ballet, Arts Ballet Theater, and The Broward Center for the Performing Arts; as well as work for corporate clients. Additionally she earned an artistic grant from the state of Florida, prior to her move to Boston.Always an artist in some capacity, Cardin started out as a ballet dancer, then earning her B.A. in Art History from Florida Atlantic University, followed by an M.A. in Communications from Lynn University. She went on to hold several professional jobs in the arts, while continuing to produce personal and professional photography projects as a freelancer. In 2010 Cardin focused on pursuing her fine arts career full-time. She lives and works in Rochester, NY, with her husband and two young children.
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