Tina Barney (American, b. 1945) uses portraiture to capture the lifestyles and family dynamics of those around her. Born and raised in New York, NY, Barney’s photographic career began in the 1970’s. She studied at the Sun Valley Center for Arts and Humanities in Ketchum, ID, from 1976 to 1979. Barney’s large-scale color photographs are reminiscent of classical portraiture, but they depict the confines and lifestyles of modernity, most often of the artist’s affluent friends and family. Though Barney frequently plays the role of passive observer, the majority of her works are studied and well-orchestrated scenes, the figures and settings carefully arranged to portray the image she desires. The differences between her directorial approaches can be seen when comparing Marina’s Room (1987) with Marina and Peter (1997); while the father and daughter pair are unaware of the photographer’s presence in the first photo, the later composition depicts the duo full frontal and fully engaged with the lens.
Barney has completed workshops with Frederick Sommer, Roger Mertin, Joyce Niemanas, Duane Michals, Nathan Lyons, John Pfahl, and Robert Cumming. She was the recipient of the 1991 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and the 2010 Lucie Award for Achievement in Portraiture. Barney’s published works include Players (2010), The Europeans (2005), Theater of Manners: Tina Barney (1997), and Friends and Relations (1992). The artist’s works have appeared in numerous publications, editorial work, group shows, and solo shows; in addition, her pieces have appeared in public institutions throughout the U.S. including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Barney currently lives and works in New York City and Rhode Island.