'Falling Through Time'—the latest series by acclaimed photographer Barbara Cole—is a complex arrangement of past and present, one that draws on personal and collective history, myth, and the porous nature of time in the distinct, contemporary style for which the artist has become known.
Cole’s project began 20 years ago, when, while traveling, the artist became enamored with the incomparable gardens of England. She was inspired by their romantic ambience: whimsical lattices, wiry brambles, and lush roses, all overseen by classically inspired statues, impossibly weightless despite their stone medium. Capturing these whimsical spaces with her Polaroid SX-70 film, and later manipulating the malleable photographic surface to painterly effect, Cole’s documentation resulted in a series truly romantic in both history and conception. Still, Cole felt that the project was somehow incomplete; her English garden series was stored away, and soon forgotten.
Falling Through Time is a resurfacing—of not just time and place, but Cole too, who collaborates with a past self. An incomplete project comes full circle as the English garden series becomes background to the artist’s captivating underwater portraits. The result is a visual study of time in which personal and mythical histories—refracted through the water surface—layer to create dynamic, ethereal scenes with an editorial edge. “These women do not exist in a moment in time,” says Cole, but rather alongside it, as extra-temporal travelers who float between history’s layers with confidence and mystery.

Shot by Documentary Filmmaker Bob Barrett, Creative Director and Videographer, Maverick Media.