Photographer Jeff Bark Made European Romance in Upstate New York

Photographer Jeff Bark Made European Romance in Upstate New York

Vintage and modern, European and American, this photo series by Jeff Bark is the best of both worlds.

Vintage and modern, European and American, this photo series by Jeff Bark is the best of both worlds.

Text: Teddy Willson

Midwest born and New York-based photographer Jeff Bark has been getting some attention on the other side of the pond recently. Currently, he’s two weeks into his almost two-month-long residency at Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome.

The images juxtapose an elite, Baroque era with the contemporary pleasantries of modern America. The series is called Paradise Garage, a title that will make sense momentarily. You see, the splendor of it all is that Bark’s images don’t just portray this juxtaposition. It was made in it.

The project, a two-year undertaking, was photographed exclusively in the garage of Bark’s Upstate New York home. What had originally been four blank, unassuming white walls were meticulously transformed into mystic scenes reminiscent of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe.

As much of the time period’s art, the set was dim-lit save the focal point of the photographs, resulting in a high-contrast, dramatic atmosphere. Baroque architecture set the backdrop for modern sensibilities, represented through the presence of security cameras, microphones, cigarettes and ashtrays. The portrait subjects, who sat among the technology, were dressed in an old European style—powdered faces, conservative traditional dress and an aura of mystery.

Bark’s collection will be on view at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome until June 29th.

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