Marina’s Room

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Object Details


Tina Barney, American, born 1945




Chromogenic dye coupler print


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Purchase with funds from the Patrick Family Foundation and Newell and Tom Harbin

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Image Copyright

© Tina Barney. Image courtesy of the artist and Kasmin, New York.


Tina Barney is renowned for her decades-long documentation of family dynamics among America’s and Europe’s social elite. Working with color film and a large-format camera, Barney blends the spontaneity of a family snapshot with the compositional and narrative complexity of a tableau. Her frames are meticulously constructed to reveal stories of intimacy and connection but also the tensions and dissatisfactions that exist among all families regardless of economic status, betraying the notion that wealth and happiness go hand in hand.
Marina’s Room is a key example of Barney’s directorial and narrative approach to photography. Here she presents a quiet and caring moment between a daughter and her father who are seemingly unaware of the camera. A narrative of doting affection is implied, yet the trappings of material comfort and affluence in the girl’s formal dress and overstuffed bedroom suggest a feeling of claustrophobia and rigidity as two people play the roles in which they’ve been cast by an elevated social hierarchy.