SUSAN A. BARNETT: T: A Typology of T-Shirts



"as much a sociological gauge of Western culture as it is a typological or photographic study, brilliant in its simplicity."
– Mark Murrmann, Mother Jones 

'The sheer diversity makes for a dazzling collection.' 
– American Photo 

With over 200 images of t-shirt ‘messages’, T: A Typology of T-shirts looks at those individuals who stand out in a crowd through their choice of the message on their back.

These photographs are not just about the T-shirt. With their combination of pictures and words these messages reveal much about the identity of the wearer. They tell us who they are, who they want to be and what they want us to know about them – their hopes, ideals, political views and personal mantras. Consequently the book is also a revealing and intriguing insight into the concerns and obsessions of our twenty-first century society.

By photographing from the back, Barnett challenges the time-honoured tradition of the portrait being of the face and tests whether body type, dress and demeanour can tell us just as much as any facial expression might. Begun in 2009, the project has taken Barnett to cities and tourist spots throughout the United States and Europe to record the ever-changing messages.

After an internship at The Cloisters, the MedievaI branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she was employed at the Perls Galleries, a famous Madison Avenue gallery where she eventually became Associate Director. She continues to act as a consultant in the art world. She returned to the School of Visual Arts studying graphic design and continues to take pictures on the streets of New York City.

The book includes texts by leading art critc, Marvin Heiferman, and by Harold Koda, Head Curator of the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

224 pages, 245mm x 166mm
240 colour photographs
ISBN: 978-1-907893-53-7