Barbara Crane: Private Views
Text by Barbara Hitchcock.
In the early 1980s, Barbara Crane embarked on a series of photographs shot during Chicago's various summer festivals. Using a Super Speed Graphic camera and Polaroid film, Crane waded in close to the revelers, tracking down the details of their clothing, hairstyles and gestures. The images are tightly cropped and condensed and therefore terrifically alive, bringing us viscerally into the crush of people eating, drinking and enjoying the crowd dynamic. Crane's instrument of choice, the Polaroid, is of course admirably up to the task. As she comments, "The quick feedback of the instant picture is in tune with this energetic style of photographing. This immediacy of result shortens the time it would take my ideas to grow visually, technically and emotionally. What takes a summer of work with Polaroid materials would take three years of picture taking and darkroom time to bring my ideas to fruition." An incredible inventory of private gestures performed in public spaces, Private Views offers a sun-drenched, sweat-glistening photographic experience. The effect is mesmerizing and intensely compelling, creating a palpable sensuality from image to image, an incredible document--not of a particular event or personalities--but of something less tangible: the public expression of euphoria.