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Barbara Crane’s Polaroid ‘Private Views’ of the ’80s

Imagine that you’re at an incredibly cool early-’80s block party. You pass around your Polaroid camera and ask everyone you meet to take a snapshot. Somehow, you come away with a diverse but uniformly wonderful selection of intimate close-ups. This is exactly what Barbara Crane’s Private Views series, created between 1980 and 1984, feels like: A pretty girl in magenta lipstick stares out from a pay phone; pairs of friends and couples link arms or embrace, their faces out of frame; a kid in an Adidas shirt clutches a boombox. None of the images gives us the full story of what we’re seeing, but the partial views invite us to imagine the relationships between the people we only see as arms, torsos, and obscured faces. A selection of our favorite Private Views Polaroids, which we spotted at Booooooom, are after the jump. Click over to Higher Pictures to see many more.


Barbara Crane, Private Views, 1980 – 84, Polaroid (Type 59), 4” x 5”. All images via Higher Pictures

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