Philippe De Jonckheere, digital image from contact prints of photograms, Puiseux-en-Bray, 2000, 20X24 inches.


... (...) ... When I next saw Barbara for our first one to one wednesday meetings, towards the end of the session I asked her ( decidedly I was, then, a lot more daring than I am now ) if I could see some of her work. The following week she brought me a book entitkled "Barbara Crane, photographs 1948-1980" ( it was the copy that she would drop here and there in galleries and such, across the cover of which was written "Please return" ). I have looked and looked through this book, every evening, endlessly to the point of becoming blind. I was paying no attention anymore to the small pocket book on Robert Frank. The picture alone that was on the cover was a shock to me: I would ask Barbara, bewildered, how she managed to fabricate such a picture (one has to remember that we were back in 1988, the very first version of Photoshop was just out, I, of all people, had not been yet in the near vicinity of a computer), she looked intrigued by the question, and simply answered that it was "just" a large format printed from an 8X10' negative reproduction of a contact print that she had made from a collage of neagatives of various sources. I understood immediately that Barbara was playing in aleague of her own. Stunned by this intricate mastering, which was rather telling on the degree of premeditation that Barbara was quite capable of, I did, only just, noticed that, on the print, one could not see any longer the registration perforations of the 35mm film strips, the answer fell, obvious: "that's because I cut them off with an Xacto knife."

Three years ago, when I started to use Photoshop, my painful ignorance of the basic fundamentals of this program was such that I sometimes had to go down in the cellar where the darkroom is set, to actually print what I was struggling to do under Photoshop and then scan the result. And when I later confess this to Barbara, she told me that she was still doing it that way. Photographers are a weird species.

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