Written review by
Associate Curator, International Center of Photography
I am very impressed by Barbara’s work. Her use of color and light is excellent overall, and the subject matters are very unique, appealing and sometimes intriguing. Barbara has a universe of her own: all the images are part of one same world, very personal and yet distanced. This is in itself invaluable. Within this consistent environment, some images are stronger than others. I am particularly drowned to the photographs that are not obvious to understand, that enclose a part of mystery, allowing viewers to make use of their imagination and sensitivity.
For instance, the hunter with the dog (5) is an excellent image, very well composed, beautifully shot. That green background – the color and the texture - is stunning. There is something of Alec Soth’s distanced anthropology look in these images. I love also the interior scenes (6 and 13), subtle and telling, and formally excellent, like well composed, classic paintings. Portrait 3 is very deep and well composed. And photograph 11 to me is the best one. Unpredictable, thought provoking, technically excellent, lyrical, theatrical. The lines are interesting, too, sometimes frontal but mostly oblique, not completely diagonal: an interesting angle which enhances the mystery or the situations.
Weaker images, to me, are 7 and 8: the use of light is not interesting and the subject matter too obvious, or not clear enough. Number 4 I find intriguing but would like to know more about it. Like Raphaël Dallaporta’s Domestic Slavery, a photograph revealed by its written story - what happened in that building? Without the context, the potential of the image is not completed. Images 2 and 9 lack substance, perhaps they are too gimmicky and far removed from Barbara’s creative universe, hence they seem too picturesque. Not bad pictures at all, but they do not belong, somehow. The use of light and color is interesting in photograph 1, but the subject is too aware. So is the subject of picture 12. A good portrait is one where the subject seems lost in his own world, not so aware of the photographer’s presence, forgetting oneself. The blurry black cat (10) is sweet and interesting but not a good composition, no depth.
All in all this is a very strong body of work. I like the fictional aspect of Barbara’s work, the possibility for these images to tell a story. This is an important dimension of photography – fiction – and it is very precious to be able to create fiction with reality, in a beautiful, appealing way.