Untitled (dive board), 2004
Tim Barber’s recent book of photographs isn’t self-titled. It’s just called Untitled Photographs. Published with OHWOW, the monograph originated with an 2010 exhibition of Barber’s work at the OHWOW gallery in Miami, and this week, Barber is launching the book in Europe with a presentation at London gallery Mother.
Perhaps equally well known as a curator as a photographer—first as photo editor of Vice and then through his own Tinyvices website and imprint, which collects photographs from international online submissions—Barber’s approach is typified by a subtle style and careful sequencing. Clearly autobiographical, Barber’s images in Untitled Photographs have a haunting, meditative stillness. “I’ve always considered editing to be the most important and difficult step in the photographic process,” says Barber. “So I hope that working with and editing other people’s images has helped strengthen those muscles in my brain.”
Barber’s friend and collaborator Miranda July provided the introductory text. “I really love her writing and I knew she would have a unique and poetic approach,” Barber says. Moreover, July’s web project “Learning To Love You More” provided a source of inspiration for Tinyvices’s democratic approach to presenting artwork.
“The selections are from years of shooting and re-shooting, editing, paring, contrasting, arranging and rearranging,” says Barber. Arranged simply, with a single image per spread of the book, the photos of friends, travel and nature create a subtly illusive narrative. “The subjects are important to me, but I don’t expect them to be to anyone else, so I don’t really consider that in the edit. It’s more about building some kind of whole out of pieces, some sense out of nonsense.”
“I’ve been working on this story my whole life, and I’ll always be working on it, adding to it, re-thinking it,” Barber says. “There’s always a new way to see things.”