One of America's most renowned art photographers, Tina Barney, famously uses a distinctive palette and large-scale color to record the gentrified East Coast world in which she lives. The documentary "Tina Barney: Social Studies" will be shown 6 p.m. today, March 21, at the Community Library in Ketchum. Based on her latest project "The Europeans," the hour-long film was made by Paris-based director Jaci Judelson in 2005.
"I photographed (that world) for 30 years and wanted to change," Barney said from her home in New York City. "Some friends suggested I apply as visiting artist to the American Academy in Rome. This was solidified by Colleen Daly, who introduced me to Italian friends of hers. It gave me the incentive to go. I started the project (which became "The Europeans") in Rome with one family Colleen knew."
Daly, the executive director of The Community Library, and Barney have been good friends since the late 1980s. Barney lived in Ketchum from 1973 to 1983, during which time she was associated with the Sun Valley Arts Center, now known as the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. In 1991, she was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
"I went back to Europe three consecutive falls and slowly people I knew said 'I have friends,' 'I have cousins' who they introduced me to."
Like a 21st century version of the Grand Tour, she traveled around capturing moments in private lives in Vienna, London, Italy, France, Spain and Germany. The photographs give an insightful glimpse into a world of modern Europeans. Amidst the tour, Barney was approached by Judelson about making a movie.
"I met Jaci vicariously through Colleen," Barney said. "Colleen was my assistant one-year in Italy and it was through her friends that I met Jaci. Colleen is very important to this project.
"Jaci and I became dear friends. She made it fun. She has the right personality. I was worried she was going to get in the way. She had a soundman, a cameraman and assistant. I thought what will people think when I walk in with this entourage. But once there I never thought of her. It was wonderful and really fun."
"Social Studies" was shot in Paris, New York City, Rhode Island, Long Island and in Arles, France.
"Really the film is for educational purpose. That's what I thought of it as," Barney said. "So many students asked how I do what I do. How long does it take to take each shot? How do you meet these people? This way you can see the process."
Among the many venues where Barney's work has shown are the Barbican Art Gallery in London, the Arles Festival, Museum der Moderne in Salzburg, the Norton Museum of Art, and The Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. She is represented by Janet Borden Inc. in New York.