Photographer Barbara Vaughn was born in Philadelphia, PA. She earned her BA from Princeton University and studied fine art photography at the International Center of Photography in New York City. Following college, photographer Barbara Vaughn spent several years in the corporate world before deciding to pursue her long-time passion for photography. She attended the International Center of Photography in NYC, and launched her portraiture business in 1992. After two decades of commissioned figurative and representational work, her interest shifted dramatically, and she began shooting a new series of work inspired by Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. The subject matter of this new series is water, more precisely reflections of common scenes captured in undulating water, distorted by its movement, and frozen by the camera.
A former portrait photographer, Vaughn has photographed many luminaries in entertainment, business, and the arts. Her work has been published in numerous books as well as publications such as The New York Times, Time, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and Art in America. Her fine art has been exhibited in galleries in New York City; Sun Valley, ID; St. Barth’s; Quogue, NY; San Francisco; and Sonoma County, CA. Vaughn is based in New York City and San Francisco.
My photographs result from seeking the extraordinary in ordinary places. They present my efforts to capture abstraction with a tool designed to document reality, using water as my subject.
Picasso proclaimed, ‘There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.’ In these photographs, ‘reality’ is removed by the swell and motion of water, which distorts the reflections.
These abstract reflections are not readily discernible ‘in situ,’ because the human eye cannot freeze motion as a camera can. Because of the speed of the water movement and the fleeting nature of these reflections, there is a large degree of unpredictability and a small degree of control in capturing these images.