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Barbara Trachtenberg

As a self-taught street photographer, I explore the relationships between people and their neighborhoods. I photograph a story I see in a person’s face. I imagine the interiors of people and am drawn to the vulnerabilities I see in strangers. Greys and ambiguity attract me—people alone in a crowd, a slice of life. In 40s and 50s Camden, NJ, my parents sent us out to play until dinner. There were niches to hide and experiment in, family-owned stores, my father’s drugstore and alleyways, neighbors raking who were willing to lend an egg. I look for those settings today—in the US and abroad. I was 14 when my grandfather died and relatives were just arriving from the 1956 Hungarian uprising. An older cousin sat in our kitchenette shelling walnuts with my mother for the family celebration. When I asked her about the blue numbers on his arm, she asked me to polish the silver. They told me of the relatives who hadn’t come and I decided to hitchhike in Europe: I learned to be comfortable with strangers. Keeping a travel journal led me to writing seriously and, as a young mother on a writing fellowship to MacDowell Colony, I met Ruth Orkin. We shared our love of visual poetry in ordinary, workaday worlds of people alone and together—spontaneous street scenes, melodramas, funny, moody and intimate moments. I lived in Mexico in 1988 and began photographing and returned a year later to train as an ethnographer. This was my evolution as a narrative photographer attracted to ordinary people in daily lives and to scenes that raise questions.


• ONE-WOMAN SHOW: Photographs and Paintings/Mixed Media TRIDENT BOOKSELLERS AND CAFE FIRST and SECOND FLOORS (, September 2, 2013—November 25, 2013.

• Narrative Photography Project: GUERRERO, MEXICO, FALL, 2013

• NEWTV Summer Selective, Newton, MA: 5 juried pieces, Juror, Kathleen Smith, Director of Exhibits at New Art Center

• July, 2013, Newton Mayor’s Office Summer Show, “Stay Cool.”

• Invited Group Show: "Old Structures," CURATOR: EMILY PASSMAN—through September 11, 2013. REVIEW:

• DANFORTH MUSEUM's COMMUNITY OF ARTISTS: Through August 4, 2013: Juror, Katherine French, Danforth Museum Director, New England Chapter of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) for curatorial excellence.

• YWCA Stand Against Racism, Juror, Karen Haas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Jewish-Cape Verdean Seder.

• RE CYCLE: "Totem to a Marathon" Cambridge Art Association: Opening Reception, Thursday, April 11, 5:30-7:30.


• FACE TO FACE: Painting, "Face to Face," Juror, Arlette Kayafas of Gallery Kayafas, March 2-30, 2013.

• SECRETS: Group Show, January 19-February 25, 2013, "In the Kitchen," Juror, Jane Young of Chase Young Gallery, Boston.
The Cambridge Art Association's Kathryn Schultz Gallery, 25 Lowell Street, Cambridge.

• January, 2012, Boston Camera Club: Latimer Competition: Third Place, "Souq."

• November 9th, 2012-January 10th, 2013, Cambridge Art Association: BLUE, "Mother, Muted," Group show, Juror, Joseph Thompson, Director, Mass MoCA.

• 2012, November, Newton Open Studios: NEW PHOTOGRAPHS Mexico, Morocco

• 2012, September, Concord Art Association, FRANCES RODDY 13th Open Competition, 2012, "Lubavitcher I," Juror, Jen Mergel, Beal Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

• 2012, August, Scollay Square Gallery, "Friends: Morocco," "Brothers: Morocco,""Woman Baking Bread": Morocco," BOSTON CITY HALL, GROUP SHOW: Art and Poetry.

2011: Newton Open Studios Top Ten: Juror, Katherine French, Director, Danforth Museum. NewTV Gallery


• Anthology: RE CYCLED, Cambridge Art Association, 2013
• Anthology: SECRETS, Cambridge Art Association, February, 2013
• YWCA "Stand Against Racism":
Photograph: "Jewish-Cape Verdean Seder," 2013
• Book: PAIRS, 2013
• Shalom Magazine, December, 2012
• Book: FABRIC FRANCE, 2011


• April 20, 2013, Photographic Resource Center: PinUp Night

• April, 2013, New England Women in Photography: Simmons College


• June, 2013, Big Sister Association; PHOTOS and POEMS Workshop with urban girls and their "big sisters": writing poetry based on their own photographs


• JEWISH-CAPE VERDEAN SEDER, 2013, Photographer, Boston, MA.

• Photographic Resource Center at Boston University: Accessibility Committee.


• 2011-2012: NewTV GALLERY, Newton, MA: Winners of Juried Newton Open Studios, Group Show, Curated by Katherine French, Director, Danforth Museum, Framingham, MA.

• 2011, Fall, Newton Public Library, Preview Show for Winners of Juried Exhibit; Curated by Katherine French of the Danforth Museum.

• 2012, March, Presentation:"Women in Photography Night": Photographic Resource Center, Boston University, with Lisa Kessler;


• 2010, Spring, NEWTON OPEN STUDIOS.

• 1989: CHELSEA PUBLIC LIBRARY, Photography, "Cuetzálan, Mexican Village Life."


• Roz Ablow: Monoprint
• Tim Harney: Collage
• Bonnie Mineo: Encaustic
• John Murray: Mixed Media, Painting
• Joanne Mattera, Mixed Media/Collage


Danforth Art Museum
Griffin Photographic Museum
Photographic Resource Center
Newton Open Studios
Boston Camera Club
Cambridge Art Association
Concord Art Association

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