Ai LIVE: Taylor Bareford Combines Natural World, Vintage Process in Unique Photographs
June 4, 2021
In this segment of Ai LIVE, host E. Vincent Martinez speaks with artist and educator Taylor Bareford. The special edition “Faculty Spotlight” focuses on Bareford’s work at The Art Institute of Atlanta, as well as his professional career and numerous projects.
In his role as a Digital Photography instructor, Bareford guides students with his unique approach to art and photography. He explains that growing up, he was inspired by his family’s artistic talents, but found that he didn’t have the same innate talent for drawing that his older siblings did. But he did have an eye for art, and when his father showed him a book of photography by Sally Mann, Bareford found his creative outlet.
He admits that he didn’t initially pursue a career in the creative arts, though. His college major was computer programming—but photography soon drew him back in. Today, he describes his passion as “showing people how I see things; everyone sees things just a little bit differently.”
To accomplish this, he professionally eschews the “modern” method of digital photography but instead utilizes tintypes, which produce a one-of-a-kind image. Tintypes are made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. They were used in the mid 1800s and result in what Bareford calls a “painterly or sculpterly” look.
He chooses to work with those who embrace the earth rather than the digital world, because this mindset brings “something beautiful to the images,” he says.
Bareford also uses his talents for social justice, working on the “West Side South Side” project, which challenged students to take images representing immigration, social disparities, immigration, and gentrification. The images from the series were so well received, they went on tour in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Atlanta. “Students got their work out there and it traveled around many cities,” Bareford adds.
He’s also involved in the Woke! campaign, which encourages Generation Z to express their feelings through art. The campaign is online at ihavearight.vote.
Bareford’s students also gained real-world experience through a collaborative shoot alongside Martinez’s Fashion Design students from The Art Institute of Atlanta. Fashion designs were photographed in a professional setting—which included pets—and compiled into the limited edition book Beyond the Catwalk, which quickly sold out. “It was an amazing experience for students,” mentioned Martinez.
To learn more about Bareford and see his work, follow his Instagram account: @barefordphoto.
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