Her current exhibition at Janet Borden, "Tiny Barney: Small Towns", will run from October 3 – November 21, 2012. Tina Barney is best known for her ongoing documentation of the lifestyles and relationships of her family and close friends, many of whom belong to the social elite of New York and New England. Barney’s style is part candid, part tableau; her subject matter raises in equal measure issues of privilege and the interaction of family members. While striving for the candidness of a snapshot, Barney became one of the first artists working in the 1980s to explore a “directorial” mode of making pictures.
Her decision to direct her subjects stems in part from her choice to sacrifice the nimble freedom of a 35 millimeter camera (with which she began her photographic career) for the large format camera’s ability to deliver a more detailed rendering of the trappings of wealth so integral to depicting her subjects and their environment. Her direction ranges from posing her subjects to simply asking them to repeat a spontaneous gesture, and her style of working often includes careful lighting and the help of an assistant. The effect is an unexpectedly intimate access to her subjects.