Andrew Barnaby’s photographs are an expression of understatement. Rather than emphasizing subject matter, his focus on form is an unconscious attempt to reveal the emotional aspects of objects. His work contains subtle details of both close-ups and larger forms, urging the viewer to explore their own emotional experiences prompted by the relationship of shape, light and space in his work.
As a child, Andrew worked with his father in the family darkroom. John Barnaby was a designer and engineer who seemed to worship the functional aesthetic of modern buildings, furniture, airplanes, and automobiles. Andrew was also inspired by the work of his aunt, the New York based Feminist artist Hannah Wilke, and her husband, writer Donald Goddard, who photographed some of Ms. Wilke’s best-known works.
Beginning in the late 1970s, Mr. Barnaby worked as a musician in Boston’s alternative music scene. The DIY (Do It Yourself) approach at the time created a groundswell of original music that derived its power from the belief that anyone who wanted to create music could do so. His involvement in this vital scene led Mr. Barnaby to become interested in the history of ground-breaking art and design movements, such as Bauhaus, American Machine Age industrial design, and Precisionism. The photography of these movements emphasized an involvement with form and modern life and, like the imperatives of the DIY movement, they also emphasized an intense focus on personal vision. These movements along with the DIY approach have served to influence Mr. Barnaby’s photographic work.
In addition to these family and philosophical influences, Mr. Barnaby cites the distilled essence of objects in Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s photograms and the high contrast abstract photography of Brett Weston as inspirational to his work.
Mr. Barnaby works with a variety of cameras, all film, in a number of different formats, including 6x6cm, 6x7cm, and 8×10 inch. In the past, he has worked primarily with his Durst L184 enlarger and is presently working with scanned negatives and modern printing techniques.
Mr. Barnaby is now working with a series of images from the islands of Hawaii and parts of the Eastern United States; projects involving a variety of other subjects are in the works.
As Mr. Barnaby works his thoughts often go back to his father, with whom he shared a very strong bond. In a real sense, Mr. Barnaby’s photographs are in honor of his relationship with John Barnaby, the man who taught his son how to see.