Desert Island Pics: Martin Barnes
Which eight photos would you take with you to a desert island? Martin Barnes, Victoria & Albert Museum Senior Curator of Photographs, reveals his choices to our regular host Stephen Bull and discusses how they reflect his life and career.
Desert Island Pics is an ongoing series of Photoworks talks, loosely based on the format of Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Previous castaways have included Jeremy Deller, Martin Parr, Anna Fox, Sean O’Hagan, Peter Fraser, Mishka Henner, Simon Baker and Simon Roberts.
Martin Barnes is Senior Curator of Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) London, which he joined in 1995 from his previous position at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Since 1997 he has worked on the Photographs Gallery at the V&A drawing exhibitions from the museum’s collection. He has curated numerous UK and international touring shows, including Aspects of Architecture, Where Are We?: Questions of Landscape and Something That I’ll Never Really See: Contemporary Photography from the V&A. He curated the V&A exhibitions Diane Arbus Revelations (2005-6); Twilight: Photography in the Magic Hour (2006); Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography (2010) and co-curated Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African Photography (2011). He is currently working towards exhibitions of early photographs of India and Burma by Linnaeus Tripe and a major retrospective of Paul Strand.
His publications include Benjamin Brecknell Turner: Rural England through a Victorian Lens, (V&A Publications, 2001); Illumine: Photographs by Garry Fabian Miller – A Retrospective (Merrell, 2005), Twilight: Photography in the Magic Hour (V&A / Merrell, 2006), Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography (V&A / Merrell, 2010) and Horst: Patterns from Nature (V&A / Merrell, 2014). He was presented with the Royal Photographic Society J Dudley Johnston Award in 2013 in recognition of ‘major achievements in the field of photographic criticism and the history of photography, awarded for sustained excellence over a period of time.
Martin was editor of Talking Photography, a catalogue of the audio and visual collections of the British Library National Sound Archive, where he is an interviewer for the Oral History of British Photography project. He has written articles and essays on various contemporary photographers for publications and journals including Photoworks and Aperture, entries for The Folio Society Book of the 100 Greatest Photographs (2006) and the Encyclopaedia of Nineteenth Century Photography (2007) and contributed to international exhibition catalogues on the role of photography in the Pre-Raphaelite and Arts and Crafts Movements.
Photoworks is an organisation dedicated to enabling participation in photography, the most democratic medium of contemporary visual culture. Photoworks’ programme includes commissions, publishing and participation. In collaboration with local, national and international partners, Photoworks connects outstanding artists with audiences and champions talent and ambition. Photoworks produces Brighton Photo Biennial, the UK’s leading curated photography festival, promoting new thinking around photography through a commissioned programme of events and exhibitions. Photoworks is supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation.