When Tina Barney was 23 years old, she was married with two children and living in New York where she’d been all her life. A friend of hers asked her to be a volunteer at the Museum of Modern Art in the photography department.
“I knew nothing about photographers, I didn’t know who anyone was apart from Richard Avedon,” she tells CR. “That was around 1972, and from then I started collecting, that was during a time where important photographers’ work would be around $200 or $300. I became really interested in photography.”
Soon after, Barney and her family moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, which lacked the buzz of the city but fortunately had a small art centre with a photography department. “It had photography teachers who were young, on the ball and just a terrific group of people for me to meet, so I started making pictures, taking classes, doing workshops and that was the beginning,” says Barney. “In that little mountain town ski resort in the middle of nowhere, I had my first show and I probably would never have become a photographer if I hadn’t left New York City. I was a big fish in a small pond.”