Tina Barney , research 22.02.20
I came across Barneys’ work for the first time in Brights book ‘Art photography now’, and was drawn the opening ‘blurb’ to her work
” Tina Barney theatre of manners (first published 1997) was an in depth study of Tina arenas family and friends in Manhattan and the intricate rituals of their everyday life. Barney first started studying her family in the mid-1970′s and moved from a 35mm camera to using a large format 4×5 camera in the 1980′s. By slowing the photographic process down and creating elaborate tableaux, which combine the familiarity of a family snapshot with more formal compositions, she was able to hone in on the tiny details & on the tensions & relationships between those close to her. This technique & intention can also be seen in the europeans , which concentrates on aspect of domesticity in wealthy European families.” (Bright, 2011. pg 26)
I was intrigued by this first encounter as it seems that Barney’s work has parallels to my own, in that she started by looking inwardly at her own family, I have made plans to start using the large format camera as well, and plan to do the large format workshops at the face to face next month, and she then started creating bodies of working looking outwardly at other families as a form of anthropological & social study as I have done.
I looked at Barney’s website as drawn to the serendipity of this image, being that our last name is Graham and there are a lot of people who would definitely consider what we do as totally insane, or crackers !
There were plenty of images in theatre of manners that I was drawn to aesthetically, and for the fact it was connected with my work, and it makes me wonder whether I acted too rashly when I decided not to do any tableaux of my family after all.
In Fig 2 below, I am drawn to the way Barney has used the angle and framing of the shot (including the ceiling) to emulate the look of a dolls house, like you are looking at a dollhouse , that has a dollhouse inside it. The walls , curtains and clothes nondescript, playing on this idea even more, as the furnishings appear like a dollhouse as well.
I love this image of ‘father and son’ below, and the use of colour, light and composition. The composition & framing are really simple , yet effective, and discuss the two conflicting sides of the melancholy of the parental figure , at odds with parental pride and enthusiasm for the bringing up of the next generation perfectly. The colour pallet also reflects these emotions aswell as the gaze of the subjects. The posture of the son could be read as a looming presence at the fathers back, yet there is also a gentleness to the stance, like a protective , and the role reversal of the parent and child as the parent ages, and the child becomes the care giver.
Coincidentally, one of the images I am planning to produce is of my sons fencing lesson, and I am came across this image that Barney produced as part of her body of work ‘The Europeans’
This work of two students also relates contextually to my work, and reminds me very much of Tony Ray Jones’ photograph ‘Eton’ 1967 that I saw at the Martin parr foundation at the face to face last year, and am going to be seeing again in the new exhibition that has opened at Newlyn art gallery , Hippo Campus as it is included in that as well .
I’ve just put three of Barney’s books on reserve from the library so will go and collect those tomorrow and have a more in-depth look at her work.
Bright, Susan. 2011.Art photography now . London; Thames and Hudson.
Fig 1, Barney, Tina. 1983+The+Graham+Cracker+Box . Available at http://www.tinabarney.com/theaterofmanners/sk0moy70iwm19r5reui6jycl4pvvpg (Accessed 22.02.20)
Fig 2, Barney. Tina. 1986+The+Dollhouse. http://www.tinabarney.com/theaterofmanners/m1ng4q1rzkj6q31alwvr76xgehw12p (Accessed 22.02.20)
Fig 3, Barney, Tina.1990+Father+&+Son Available at …. (Accessed 22.02.20)
fig 4 , Barney. Tina. BAR106+1996R+The+Fencing+Lesson Available at http://www.tinabarney.com/#/europeans/ (Accessed 22.02.20)
fig 5, Barney, Tina BAR115+2001+The+Two+Students Available at http://www.tinabarney.com/#/europeans/ (Accessed 22.02.20)
fig 6, Barney. Tina BAR117+2001+The+Dining+Hall Available at http://www.tinabarney.com/#/europeans/ (Accessed 22.02.20)
Barney, Tina. home page, available at http://www.tinabarney.com/ (Accessed 22.02.20)
Newlyn art gallery, the exchange. Hippo campus. Available at https://newlynartgallery.co.uk/activities/hippo-campus/ (Accessed 22.02.20)