Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tina Barney

There has been a lot of discussion on the Photoforum elist about this photo by Tina Barney. She is one of a number of contemporary photographers who are "thumbing their nose" to traditional photographic aesthetics. I contributed this statement to the list. So far, no one responded.

For me, there is an element of dada in this picture. In the same way that Marcel Duchamp put a urinal on a pedestal, we see a rather ordinary snapshot enlarged to human proportions. It opens our eyes, showing us how to see something commonplace in a very new way. Some of the commenters from the list seem to want to judge the work rather than experience it. This is a trap. The photographer is asking us to open our eyes and look at something that we might have discarded. Look at humans in this both comic and tragic theatrical setting. What do we see? How is this work more powerful and more universal than that done by a "professional" wedding photographer?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This picture has more to do with the style of the professional wedding photographer Than the casual snap shooter or the street photographer only Barney directs her subjects to express her wry sense of humor. It is good work, worth a look. H.

Anonymous said...

it might not be more powerful or universal; but it feels a void that we feel - that void is to see how messages/expressions/touches are interoperating between people.. It lets you look at the social world for a moment- in a way where you would have otherwised only had 1/100th of a second to process this - with no reflection, and then would be confronted with some other stimili that you would not be able to see. A wedding photographer would i professional about presenting these moments; because they have a job to do the opposite: they don't fill the void we have, they look for the images that reinforce the story that we want to create.

and is very satisfying.