Back Issue__ Tim Barber

January 04, 2010 | By

Portrait of Tim Barber

Googling "Tim Barber" yields two distinct results: The first is a photographer, curator and publisher; the second is Tim Barber, Trans-Am racecar driver. And although the Tim Barber we interviewed didn’t emerge victorious from the 2005 Trans-Am Series GT America season championship, he has garnered respect and affection in the world of photography. While one Tim Barber was struggling for recognition in what is, by all accounts, a doomed sport well past its late 60s/early 70s heyday, another Tim was riding waves of the iconoclastic drive of youth to become the photo editor of the venerable Vice Magazine. While one Tim pushed himself and his machine to emerge victorious, another Tim was striking out on his own to start Tiny Vices-- an online gallery, image archive and source of inspiration for any artist. One Tim Barber was born in 1976 in Vancouver, BC, and grew up primarily in Amherst, Massachusetts. The other Tim doesn't have any biographical information on his website. Guess which Tim we interviewed?

Photographs by Tim Barber

What neighborhood do you live in?

I live in Manhattan, in China Town.

What is your background in art/photography?

I’ve been taking photos and studying photography since 9th grade. I was the photo editor for Vice magazine for a few years, and have been running since 2005.

Tell us a bit about the gear you use. What are the preferred tool(s) of your trade?

I use a lot of different cameras, but as they say, “the best camera is the one you have with you.”

Photographs by Tim Barber

Do you have a preference for digital or film?

Having both is great.

Where does the name “Mystic Heather and Virgin Snow” come from? What can you tell us about that series?

It’s a portrait series of my friend Julia. I wanted to make a kind of fairytale about her with photos. Mystic Heather & Virgin Snow are the names of the two kinds of Manic Panic hair dye we used to make her hair purple.

A lot of your work is really intimate. Even with fashion photography, you seem close to the models. How do you think you achieve that? How do you choose models?

Casting is important for that reason specifically. You have to be able feel comfortable and at ease and intimate in a way with your models or the photos will probably feel phony.

Photograph by Tim Barber

When putting together a photo show, do you work with images you have already or do you go out with a theme and staged idea in mind?

It depends, I don’t have a set way or order that I do things. Everything is always changing.

You have a lot going on, with your own photo work, Tiny Vices, TV Books and curating shows. How do you keep up with all of it?

Sometimes it gets tricky but for the most part all the different things kind of support each other. I just have to keep them in balance.

How do you choose who to feature on Tiny Vices? Just personal taste?

Yeah, I just show what I like and/or what I think is interesting.

Photographs by Tim Barber

How does curating effect your own photo work?

Everything affects everything, not sure how specifically, but for me it’s all about seeing new things and staying excited and inspired.

To see more of Tim’s photography check out Tiny Vices

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