Young New York photographers often find themselves documenting life with a sort of blunt honesty, a creative and compulsory obligation to a city that is, despite the proliferation of Starbucks and Anthropologies, still a gritty enough place. The results are often a grainy, almost forced-upon madness, where kids are chain-smoking cigarettes, swinging off of scaffolding poles, passing out in porcelain bathtubs. Youth and its mess. It becomes almost a trap, this “edginess,” and something that has become so commonplace to the point of meaninglessness.
Tim Barber—though well beyond that nascent stage of “new photographer”—could easily, though mistakenly, be placed in the aforementioned camp of artists. There are, after all, similar themes of sex, youth, and freedom. Yet he manages to bridge the gap between the chaos and lawlessness that defines a certain age, meeting it with a softer, more discerning eye. The work eschews unbridled rawness in favor of beauty that retains its honesty despite a definitive tailoring of the images. The light is softer, his subjects more thoughtful. It is real life, artfully captured.
Barber’s latest exhibition, Relations, running at Capricious 88 through June 23rd, is no different. Alternating between landscape portraiture and those of a more human variety, Barber captures life with an intimacy that many photographers miss, mistaking the macabre for the meaningful. In every image, Barber efforts to capture a why—that slippery thing that dances around the subtext of art.
“Relations” is running May 2nd through June 23rd at Capricious 88 Gallery.
Address: 88 Eldridge Street, 5th Floor, NY, New York
Photos courtesy of Tim Barber and Capricious 88.