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Photo of the Week #195

Barbara Jaffe

Negative image of woman, nude except for a transparent sheet, reclining on a mattress.

Dark Sun #64, 2006
Archival pigment print
40 x 30 inches
Edition of 15


May 30, 2022
For the past 30 years Barbara Jaffe has used her 4x5 inch view camera and a variety of black & white and expired pos/neg Polaroid films to create photographs that are a tribute to the disappearing art of film itself.

In his insightful, introductory essay to her recent book, DARK SUN, renowned art scholar and critic Lyle Rexer writes, “Barbara Jaffe has carved out for herself a unique position in the history of photography, exploring in great depth the potential of the negative print.“ 

The photographs are alive with psychological and surreal elements, probing the essential nature of humans and animals in solitary, private moments.

As Jaffe has stated “For me, viewing a negative image is an exhilarating act of discovery, inviting the viewer into a reinvestigation of the known. Light can reveal or obliterate, and the same can be said of shadows.” 

“The special light of the negative describes a space that is strikingly real and yet metaphysical in nature and allows me to explore other interests of mine, the heart of which is the dual nature of reality.”

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.