Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Why Black and White: Allison Barnes

Nov 08, 2017 - Rachel Jump

For our next feature on black and white photography, we look at the work of Allison Barns. Her poetic, large-format images draw inspiration from historical literature and diaristic meditations.




Allison Barnes (b. 1987)  is a Chicago based large-format photographer, darkroom printer, and author. Her images and essays often focus on themes of intimacy, exploring the relationship between space and memory and those impressions within the history of the landscape. Exhibiting both 8×10 contact prints and mural landscapes, Barnes displays her work in solo and group shows internationally.  Her first book, “Neither For Me Honey Nor the Honey Bee”, was published in 2014. Barnes most recently completed a residency in Fall 2017 at Milkwood in Prague to carry out research for her upcoming book. In addition, she is the owner of Great Northern Labs, an analog printing and publishing platform, focusing on limited edition books and images.  


Artist Statement


Recently, my research has developed into a combination of photography and text, calling attention to varying methods of the personal archive. Over the past two years, I have been working on an intimate examination of W.G. Sebald’s, Austerlitz. These are a selection of images made as I retrace the steps of Jacque Austerlitz, navigating place and history as something that lives both far beyond and within the objects mentioned or the sites traversed.


Why Black and White?  


I see images in black and white as clearly as I recall my memories, and as acutely as I experienced them. Analog black and white captures a temperature that I exist in and preserves the vernacular of space and time as I know it. I can read these images like one reads changes in the weather; a shift in energy. It’s a language that is so intuitive and creates an index that I know how to decipher. I identify with being a darkroom printer, a creator of physical objects and the tangible image, and to me, the medium of analog prints are the most tangible. Black and white glistens like the light and silver from which they are made. I don’t need color when I have silver and all of its cosmic implications.




To see more of Allison’s work, please visit her website.