Barbara Crane’s subjects are commonplace: a piece of driftwood, a cluster of wild mushrooms, a crowd of commuters rushing for the train. The resulting photographs, however, are far from ordinary. They are imaginative, peculiar, jarring, and, like their creator, defy easy explanation.
For more than sixty years, Crane has forged her own path as a photographer. Lacking a darkroom, she began using Polaroid materials. Lacking suitable models, she paid her children to pose. Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision celebrates this Chicagoan’s wide-ranging art with a gorgeous collection of more than 250 color and black and white photographs.
“Once I developed my first role of film in 1948,” Crane notes, “nothing else mattered.” Spanning the breadth of her career, from early studies of the human form to long narrow landscapes evoking Asian scrolls; from silver gelatin and platinum prints to present-day digital works, it is by far the largest and most definitive overview of her work to date. Replete with a critical analysis by John Rohrbach and a biographical essay by Abigail Foerstner, it will delight and challenge anyone interested in contemporary photography.