Tim Barber & Tiny Vices
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Tim Barber & Tiny Vices

Sometimes trying to ask the right questions, or get inside the head of an artist can be a difficult thing. What most artists, or at least the good ones do is create for the sake of creating, nothing else. They don’t have a style that defines them; even being called an artist can make one uncomfortable. They shoot things. They draw things. They paint things. They make things. For a pure artist, what else is there? Why would any of that need to be defined? It doesn’t, because the definition of expression from an artist comes through in their work, not in a generalized summarization of a quote or a few sentences.

Tim Barber is a perfect example. His site tinyvices, which he runs and curates, is an online gallery and image archive that is a platform for emerging and underexposed photographers and artists. You won’t find words and descriptions and text on tinyvices, you will find endless amounts of amazing photographs that speak for themselves. We talked with Tim and asked him a few questions, and he is influential even in short conversation, as well as a super nice and all around good dude. But for the most part, we will let a selection of SO’s favorite Tim Barber photographs do the talking.

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Serial Optimist: When did your passion for photography start? Do you remember your first photograph, or the first one that hooked you?

Tim Barber: I started taking photo classes in 9th grade, and have been studying it since then. I don’t remember the first photo I took, but I do remember my first print I exhibited (in a glass display case in the hallway by the lunchroom in 10th grade). It was this photo of my friend Josh walking on a log in a place called Amethyst Brook. I had taken it with infrared black and white film.

SO: What was your experience like at Vice Magazine? Did it make you feel “official” as a professional photographer?

Tim: I started working with Vice right after I finished school in 2003, and was there until mid 2005. I don’t remember feeling very official, but it was a great job for me at the time, really fun and weird. I met a lot of people and learned a lot about the inner-workings of the publishing world. I hadn’t really done anything similar before working there. My resume before Vice Photo Editor included: Photo Assistant, Janitor, Sandwich Maker, House Painter, Landscaper, Line Cook, Delivery Boy, Burrito Maker, Dish Washer and Paper Boy.

SO: Can you give a brief description of tinyvices? Where did the concept come from? Do you curate the site solo? What would you say the overall goal is with tiny vices?

Tim: Yeah I run the site by myself. I started it (in 2005) because I wanted to have an accessible venue to showcase photography and art that I thought was interesting. I guess that is the overall goal if I had to sum it up: to have a place to show stuff, that will help keep me and hopefully others inspired and excited about photography and other things.

SO: Out of your huge collection of work, if you had to give it all up, and could only keep one photo of yours for yourself, does one come mind?

Tim: No, it would be impossible to choose one so I would rather give it all up and start over, and maybe do something completely different.

SO: Thanks Tim. Below are some of my favorite personal photos of yours, which were nearly impossible to choose. Have a great year, and much respect to tinyvices, one of the better things out there.

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SO Note: Check out more of Tim’s work on his website www.tim-barber.com, absolutely check out and bookmark and get lost for hours at www.tinyvices.com, and go to the Aperture Foundation to find tinyvices limited edition books which are amazing. Oh, AND tinyvices now has a free iPhone app, so download it you beautiful dummy!

David Dean
David is the publisher of Serial Optimist and writer of things that hopefully make people smile. You can also find him on HelloGiggles and Thought Catalog. He is a comedy lover and pop culture obsessive who loves crossing the line, a good story and original beauty.
David Dean
David Dean
David Dean

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3 Comments

  1. Tiffany says:

    I love these! Awesome artwork and nice interview.
    It is always nice to hear from the artist.

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