The Europeans by Tina Barney 
Hardcover in Dustjacket; 192 pages
Steidl / Barbican Art Gallery
3.2 pounds; 12.5 x 1 x 10 inches
The social class that Tina Barney photographs might well be called the flaky upper crust. Originally part of that culture herself, Barney started out making pictures of her own tony family, then other American Eastern seaboard swells, and now she turns her lens on a Grand Tour of European grand dames and hommes. Theatrically posed, but catching the intruding serendipitous gesture, her pictures are at once distant and intimately funny, Olympian and down-to-earth, imperious and impetuous. A young man in gold-bedecked bullfighting regalia poses before a sumptuous curtain, his hauteur faintly ridiculous outside of the bullring. A French father leans a little too hard on an heirloom chair, while his son beside him seems to wipe his nose in a decidedly undignified way.