“ Always dressed for work in comfortable clothes and boots, Mensch is ready to climb, stretch or squat to capture an unusual view of the most ordinary sights, often seen in snow, fog, torrential rain, or wintry dark. She shares this preference for photographing in extreme weather with Alfred Stieglitz, the city’s first great street photographer. Mensch’s choice of the Rolleiflex camera aligns her with the great photojournalists of the mid-twentieth century, who created daring compositions within the square negative format. Her black-and-white prints suggest the drama and romance of mid-century New York as we know it from films and magazines. Mensch’s love of industrial structures, dark alleys, and working class neighborhoods recalls the rough years of the 1970s and early 1980s, when New York felt neglected by the respectable middle classes and was embraced by young artists like Mensch, who found freedom in its empty streets and abandoned buildings. These historical and photographic references lend her work rich layers of meaning and emotion. “
Barbara Mensch New York Photographs catalogue for exhibition, by art historian Bonnie Yochelson 2012
Barbara Mensch is a Brooklyn native who received a BFA degree from Hunter College in New York City. After obtaining a scholarship to spend her first college year studying drawing at the Academia Di Belle Arte in Florence, Italy, Barbara began her artistic career as an illustrator for Ms. Magazine.
In the early 1980's, Ms. Mensch became fascinated with photography. She worked as a photo assistant at the Knoedler Gallery in New York which was then an iconic centerpiece of the art world. Ms Mensch carefully developed her darkroom skills printing large format negatives from the many gallery artists, including works from the estates of Alexander Calder, Marc Chagall and Claude Monet.
Barbara Mensch has had more than 15 solo exhibitions of her photographic work and has been in countless group exhibitions. Barbara not only captures stunning, unique images but also has mastered the crucially important "old school art" of printing by hand in gelatin silver.
Barbara's images have been represented by some of New York City's most prestigious galleries and her work is in numerous collections including the Museum of the City of New York, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, Fundacion Televisa of Mexico City, the Biblioteque Nationale, and the Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston, among others.
Ms. Mensch’s images are represented in leading corporate and private collections including Sir Elton John and Agnes Gund.