Polaroid Transfers - 1993
"In more ways than one might care to think about, photography is the medium of the 1990s...No one sums up the current state of affairs better than Barbara Cole...Interestingly, despite its sepia-toned nostalgia and soft focus, Cole's photography is technologically state-of-the-art. She uses a regular 35mm camera with black and white film, but develops it with special filters to give it an old fashioned look. The mood is more than reinforced by the subject matter; views of Paris, elegant pools, picnics...It's all very pictorial, reminiscent of a more leisurely and romantic past, Cole's remembered paradise is more imagined than real...Cole's pictures aren't what they are, but what they seem to be. This is not intended as a criticism, merely as a description.
The photographs were shot during the last two years in Paris, the south of France, England and Canada. Some portray urban vistas - the Seine at Sunset - while others focus on details such as a table after lunch or a couple kissing. In and of themselves, these images tend to romanticism. But rendered crisply in black-and-white, for example, they would have created an altogether different impression. The effect would have been documentary, more truthful and objective. That would have been just as misleading, just as much a function of style rather than substance.
The advent of high technology, which has made so much possible, has also led to the severing of the traditional connections between an artwork and its time, between the medium and the message, between form and function. Artists have at their disposal equipment ranging from Polaroid camera to laser scanners. They can roam physically and stylistically with unprecedented freedom...Initially, the implications may sound ominous, but in fact they point to a whole new world of possibilities...
- 04/11/1993, Christopher Hume, Toronto Star Newspaper