Post-Modern Visual Artist: Interview with Barbara C. Harrison


Ms. Harrison currently resides in Ithaca, New York and  experiments with various forms of art with an emphasis in photography and is known for her independence of thought and activism in healthcare.  Hiking, the natural world, western square dancing, a healthy diet and helping those in need are intricate parts of her lifestyle.

Barbara C. Harrison website

NP: How did you get interested in the visual arts?

My first partner was interested in photography. He was taking classes to develop his skills.  He would take photographs for class assignments while we were out on dates. I would also spend time with him while he printed his photographs, watching the magic as the images appeared.  My curiosity and desire to become more involved with what he was doing, and discover my own photographic expression, lead him to give me one of his cameras and I began discovering the artistry of writing with light

 NP: What is your artistic philosophy?

 Harrison: Discovering the environs, eyes in motion–delving into textures, patterns, colors, and lines painted by light.  Expanding the view a scene presents by altering perspective.  Exploring Patterns of Illumination, the observer has a chance to visualize the possibilities, rather than what she or he thinks they see.

 NP: How would you describe the nature of art today, exhibiting and the thinking of paying to exhibit.

 Harrison: I have exhibited in local galleries and have not paid to show my photographs.  I recently was invited to exhibit in a gallery.  To show your work, you “pay to play”.  I found this very unsettling.  I understand that renting space to operate a gallery can be quite expensive depending on the profit desired, especially in metropolitan or tourist areas that draw people interested in art.  However, for the artist that means that they pay to exhibit, and then a commission is taken when their art is sold. In some cases artists pay to enter every show in which a  gallery participates.  It’s quite subjective. Follow the money is all too common.



I would ask, if you are a new artist, without much money, how are you supposed to get your work out to the public? Will Instagram and other social media platforms replace in the flesh galleries because there is no cost to exhibit?  But on the other hand, there is nothing like standing in front of a piece of art and feeling part of the media you are exploring. Absorbing the textures, the colors, patterns, and shadows.


Regarding photography, I am concerned with the thinking that anyone who picks up a camera and takes a photo thinks they are producing professional quality, without use for composition, the elements that create a photo and then taking the photo into a program to achieve something that was not well thought out.

NP: How should photography be defined in this age?

Harrison:  From my perspective I would suggest that art today is defined by the artist who creates the work and the person buying her and his work – art becomes art in the eye of the creator/beholder. If someone pays the artist for their work they are no longer an amateur. Still, does that mean the work, whether photography or a painting is considered worthy of the word “art” from a museum or gallery point of view? Is the world of art, objective?

I think a good artist struggles with her or his work and if others find enjoyment and meaning in their work then they have achieved personal success, regardless of whether it’s in a museuma gallery or a home.