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 that we can do. This inability to show physical affection is in our heritage. -Tina Barney
Marina’s Room (1987) is exemplary of Barney’s early style while its companion, Marina and Peter (1997) reflects Barney’s later shift to a more direct and less directorial approach to portraiture. In the former picture, Marina and her father are pictured sharing a private moment while seemingly oblivious to the photographer’s presence. A narrative is suggested, but as the title implies, the picture is as much about the things found in the room, as it is about the people who occupy it. In the latter picture, the very same subjects have been photographed – again from across the bed – ten years later. In the course of a decade, Barney has brought her camera closer and closer to her subjects. Here, Marina and Peter acknowledge Barney and her camera; in return, Barney allows them to strike their own poses – to be themselves. In juxtaposition, these two photographs have much to say about changing relationships: of father and daughter, photographer and subject, and between families and friends.