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Connections: Titles

On February 15, 2011, photographer Tina Barney spoke on campus about her career and her experience photographing Vassar for the exhibition, 150 Years Later: New Photography by Tina Barney, Tim Davis, and Katherine Newbegin. Here is an excerpt from the question and answer portion of the evening. An excerpt of Barney’s lecture will be in the upcoming issue of Art at Vassar.

Tina Barney (American, b.1945), The Lounge, 2010, Chromogenic color print, ©Tina Barney, Courtesy of the artist and Janet Borden, Inc.

Question: I love your titles. Once you read the titles, it redirects you. How do you come up with them?
Tina Barney: From the very beginning, Janet [Borden] and I hated making titles. And we would do it together because I almost wish that I didn’t have to have a title. But if I say “Untitled” it is so cold and aloof and I can’t do that. So I usually choose a title, I hope that I choose a title, that is multi-interpretational. I really try to do that. I make it the “Red Room” or the “Orange Room” so that it doesn’t make the viewer think too much about what I am trying to say. Most of the titles are real lazy cop-outs. They are not thought hard about at all.

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