Barbara Bosworth at PEM

My former teacher, current collaborator, and now super friend is having a really lovely show at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA.  The work is mostly black-and-white, taken with a large-format camera.  Some images are solo, while others are panoramas made by taking 2, 3, or (as in the case above) 4 images in a sweeping succession.

Among the things that I love about the work is that it blends the precision allowed by the very cumbersome (and slow!) 8×10 camera with a sense of deep intimacy and connectedness.  An image like the one above must have taken at least 1/2 hour, probably a good bit more, just to set up the camera and make the negatives, but it reads as a moment apprehended and shared.  Not that the arduousness is what matters.  I’m just saying that it’s striking that Barbara Bosworth is able to incorporate people really seamlessly into images that take a lot longer to make than your average cell phone selfie.

Included in the exhibit are artifacts from Barbara’s life–an egg collection and the pencilled effort she made as a child to identify them reveal that her passion for looking carefully at the natural world began when she was very young.  And it persists in her family, as is clear in the images that look back to her parents and forward to young nieces and nephews.  The Bosworth world seems to be, in Heidegger’s words, one of being-there.

The show is up for a while, as part of PEM’s “year of photography.”