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Barbara Traub is an American photographer who was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. Several years after graduating from Johns Hopkins University, she went to art school in Italy for a semester with the intention of doing painting and drawing, but at the last minute was loaned a Leica and decided that she'd rather roam Florence with a camera.
Her early work was influenced primarily by the street photography/decisive moment aesthetics of Robert Frank, Josef Koudelka, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. In 1987 she won first place in an annual newspaper photo contest and held her first exhibition. Two years later, she went around the world and spent most of her time in Southeast Asia making informal portraits of people in their surroundings. Soon thereafter, she was introduced to the work of Man Ray whose attention to surrealism, abstraction, and multimedia further influenced her style.
In 1994 Traub moved to San Francisco. That summer she went to Lake Tahoe to shoot the figure as landscape and heard of the Black Rock Desert and shortly afterward its Burning Man. In 1996 she worked on assignment for Wired Magazine's cover story and again for Wired News in 2001 and 2006. She was chief photographer for HardWired's 1997 book Burning Man, curator of the 'Art of Burning Man' exhibition at Photo SF 2004, and author of Desert to Dream: A Decade of Burning Man Photography, published in 2006 to favorable reviews. A 2009 interview with Time Magazine declared the image on the book's cover to be an "Iconic Photo of Burning Man". The revised edition Desert to Dream: A Dozen Years of Burning Man Photography relaunched in 2011 along with Apple's iOS eBook version.
- Burning Man - Hardwired, 1997. ISBN 1-888869-13-5.
- Desert to Dream: A Decade of Burning Man Photography - Immedium, 2006. ISBN 1-59702-003-6.
- Desert to Dream: A Dozen Years of Burning Man Photography - Immedium, 2011. ISBN 1-59702-026-5.
- A lovely book, beautifully shot, surreal and random and appropriately odd. Morford, Mark - SFGate
- Traub's skill with the camera is clearly on display in Desert to Dream. Orellana, Erik - Take Great Pictures
- A Welcome Addition to Photographic Studies Collections. Midwest Book Review - Immedium
- An Iconic Photo of Burning Man. Duff, Craig - Time