Tina Barney

Born 1945, New York, New York; lives in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

American artist Tina Barney was introduced to photography by her grandfather, and she began collecting photographs at the age of twenty-six. In the 1970s, Barney began taking pictures, chronicling the lifestyles and relationships of her family and friends, most of whom belonged to the social elite of New York and New England.

Early in her career, Barney worked with a 35 millimeter camera, taking candid photographs of family and friends in their lavish homes. In the 1980s, she transitioned to a large format camera and adopted a more directional picture taking method. She began carefully directing her subjects, using staged lighting. Barney felt that the large format camera better captured her sitters and their material wealth. She continues to photograph the social elite in order to explore the emotional and psychological condition of banal subjects, gestures, personal relationships, and wealth and privilege.

Tina Barney’s work can be seen in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Illinois, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, among others.