Tina Barney is known for her colorful, ultraglamorous photographs of socialites and wealthy families, many of whom she met while growing up in New York City and Long Island. Last summer, for her latest project, the 72-year-old artist took her 8 x 10 camera outside to capture New England vistas. Her images of sandy beaches and quiet small-town streets are featured in the new exhibition “Tina Barney: Landscapes,” opening today at Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York.
Shifting from portrait to landscape photography was a new, welcome challenge for Barney. During her usual portrait sessions, she stands a few feet from her subjects with complete control over the room’s lighting. These outdoor shoots, which took place in Rhode Island and Connecticut, were entirely different. “I was under the command of nature,” she said in an interview. Which meant “trying to get rid of massive amounts of green and the sky, and deciding where to stand, where to put the camera.”
The gallery show includes scenic, spontaneous shots that Barney took in the ’80s as well. Juxtaposed with her older pictures, the new images from last summer take a planned, carefully executed approach.
After this show, Barney says she’ll return to portraiture for the foreseeable future. “I feel like I can say I doubt I’ll do it again,” she said. “But you never know. Something weird might happen.”
“Tina Barney: Landscapes” is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery through March 3.