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Barbara Jaffe’s series DARK SUN embraces the expressive potential of negative photographic images. The reversed tonal values in her prints open up a surprising and sensuous view of the world, as if we are seeing a secret side of things. In 1987, after years of working in color, Jaffe was drawn to the hands-on experimentation offered by her black and white darkroom. Struck by the way one of her photographs seemed utterly transformed when printed as a negative, she initiated her three decade exploration into this process of photographic alchemy. 

In the introduction to her book DARK SUN, curator and critic Lyle Rexer observes that Jaffe’s prints reverse the normal order of things, where typically we understand light to fall on objects: “it is as if the negative unlocked the unknown capacity of objects in the world to emit light.” This inverted quality of light allows us to see things with fresh eyes, revealing the latent spirituality in our everyday world.


Barbara Jaffe’s work has been widely exhibited, and is in the collection of many museums in the U.S. and abroad, most notably the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum; the Brooklyn Museum; Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium and others.

Her book, DARK SUN, has been acquired by the libraries at Harvard, Yale, NYU, UCLA, MassArt, and over 40 others in Europe and Asia.