Tina Barney: Players

High Society Meets Showbiz With Help from Michael Stipe and Chip Kidd

Tina Barney is best known for capturing the social subtleties of affluent New England, but with her new Steidl book the New York native marks a departure from twin-set territory. Previewed exclusively by NOWNESS, Players is a collaboration with editor and designer Chip Kidd, whose role it was to cherry-pick images from a mix of commercial assignments, fashion and editorial spreads, and Barney’s personal collection, and arrange them into captivating layouts. “I wanted to do something different,” the photographer explains. “I felt that people don’t look at pictures carefully enough; they try to find the subject matter or the reason for the picture instead of really looking at it, dissecting it in every way possible.” Rather than focus solely on domestic theatrics, the book tosses in professional performers, with vibrant close-ups of entertainers including the Big Apple Circus, the Wooster Group and musician Michael Stipe. The mercurial R.E.M. frontman also contributes a poem as an antidote to the obligatory coffee table forward. “I was tired of the esoteric, overly intellectualized essays that are written for most photographic books,” says Barney. “And I had the guts to ask him.” 


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