I am Not This Body by Guy Armstrong
The Pinhole Photographs of Barbara Ess

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"Barbara Ess makes subtly-toned photographs that are not so much reality as visionary versions of it. Blurry and distorted, they seem to coax their subjects from mysterious spaces." --Grace Glueck, The New York Times

"Ess's images often have a dreamy subterranean quality--part wonder and part menace--as if culled directly from the subconscious."

--Gregory Volk, ARTnews

I Am Not This Body investigates primary, personal experience and relies upon the viewer's imagination and memories. Barbara Ess is renowned for her accomplished use of the pinhole camera and her effort to "photograph what cannot be photographed." Ess's is a conscious quest to explore what she calls "ambiguous perceptual boundaries: between people, between the self and the not self, between in here and out there." In her view, "reality... includes a perceiver, who has memories, thoughts, desires, emotions--[which] a normal camera tends to omit." The strange and affecting images she coaxes from this primitive camera manage to evoke the sublime and the impossible, the textures of desire and loss.

About Guy Armstrong

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Over the past two decades, Barbara Ess has been represented in numerous exhibitions, including a large retrospective of her work at the Queens Museum in 1993. She also works with video and installation.
Published November 17, 2001 by Aperture. 96 pages
Genres: Arts & Photography.