Barbara Cole


Barbara Cole is a self-taught artist from Toronto known for her romantic, fragile and delicate underwater photographs. Long drawn to reflections and motives when she practiced swimming herself, Barbara Cole discovered photography at the age of 19 when she was the editor of the fashion pages of the Toronto Sun. This universe strongly influences the photographic production of the artist. From her time in the world of fashion, Barbara Cole retains a strong taste for the human figure and a draconian methodology to conceptualize and orchestrate her compositions.
Throughout her career, Barbara Cole has worked internationally on commercial projects and has created several large-scale commissions, including installations for the atrium at the M. Lau Breast Cancer Centre in Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital and for the Trump Hollywood in Hollywood Beach, Florida. Her series Underworld was exhibited at the Canadian Embassies in Tokyo and Washington, D.C. Barbara Cole has won prestigious awards such the Grand Prize at the Festival International de la Photographie de Mode in Cannes, and third prize at the International Photography Awards in New York. In 2012, the acclaimed documentary series Snapshot: The Art of Photography II featured an episode devoted exclusively to Barbara Cole’s photographic practice. Barbara Cole lives and works in Toronto, Canada.

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