Cole Barash is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Working in the mediums of digital, analog, and archival photography, he often focuses on the conversation of color and composition between two objects or moments. Well acquainted with international subcultures, Cole seeks “subjects where the boundaries are more open and not as seasoned.” Using an organic approach, his portraiture and still lifes became known for their candid and spontaneous sense of intimacy.

I’m a huge fan of Cole’s work. It’s emotive and powerful, providing unique perspectives across works from abstract landscapes to portraits to snapshots of everyday life. He has published several books, exhibited his work across the globe, and has been hired by leading publications including the New York Times, the New Yorker, W Magazine, and many more. Listen above or on iTunes or Spotify.

In this episode, we talked about: 

  • his in-progress series on skyscraper window washers
  • incorporating writing into his practice and the impact it’s had
  • how he combines and balances commissioned and personal work
  • the value he finds in both types of work
  • his work goal for the next 50 years
  • how his personal work influences the decisions of people who hire him for commissions
  • how he vets commissioned projects before taking them
  • figuring out how to assert and stand by your ideas while also being malleable and positive
  • how he makes subjects comfortable
  • why meeting people in person face-to-face is more important than ever
  • how the words of Gerhard Richter gave him permission and freedom to experiment and focus on producing new work
  • the risk of being exploitative and intrusive in producing documentary work and how to avoid that
  • why putting work of a completely different direction into the world can be terrifying
  • his relationship with Instagram and how he begrudgingly puts a lot of time and consideration into what he posts
  • the imprint his mom’s career as a landscape architect had on him
  • seeing his relationship of and with nature throughout his work
  • how he became a pro snowboard photographer at age 18
  • why he’s interested in understanding subcultures
  • how he defines success

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

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