Tina Barney

American (New York City, New York, 1945)

Tim, Phil & I

photograph | chromogenic print
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  • Tim, Phil & I

    Tina Barney, Tim, Phil & I, 1989; chromogenic print, 48 in. x 60 in. (121.92 cm x 152.4 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Purchase through an anonymous gift; © Tina Barney

Although they often appear candid, Barney's photographs are in fact carefully staged. Using her family and friends as models, Barney constructs realistic tableaux of upper-class life, which she photographs with a large-format camera and prints on a grand scale. In this example she depicts herself talking to her two sons at a summer barbeque.

Of the coolness of the relationships depicted in her work, Barney writes, "When people say that there is a distance, a stiffness in my photographs, that the people look like they do not connect, my answer is, that this is the best we can do. This inability to show physical affection is our heritage." Despite the emotional reticence of her sitters, ambiguous emotional and psychological undercurrents are often evident in subtle expressions and gestures.

48 in. x 60 in. (121.92 cm x 152.4 cm)
Acquired 1995
Collection SFMOMA
Purchase through an anonymous gift
© Tina Barney


portraits, artists, barbecues, leisure, torsos, shirtless, men, women, eating, social activities, cooking, backyards, glasses, brothers, sons, mothers, sunsets

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