Sue Barr

by P. Berberian April 2, 2018

Sue Barr

Sue Barr‘s candid, authentic lifestyle images are both spontaneous and focused.  She’s shot advertising and editorial assignments for notable clients including P&G, Johnson and Johnson, the Ford Motor Company and New Jersey Monthly, as well as for numerous pharmaceutical companies. Barr says, “My passion is to gain my subject’s trust, exhaust the expected and capture the extra-ordinary moment that defines a brand.”

Peter Berberian: What made you first decide you were going to be a photographer?

Sue Barr: A need to create! My creative medium was originally painting and mixed media, but I loved how photography was so much more collaborative. It’s a mixture of both art and commerce.

PB: Is there a photograph you loved as a kid or an event that pushed you into being a photographer?

SB: I was more inspired by music and conceptual art during the 70’s. Being a photographer was not considered a form of art at the time, but while I was staying with a friend out in the Hamptons, he loaned me his Leica camera and encouraged me to start shooting. I was in love the moment I started clicking away!

PB: What do you primarily photograph?

SB: Kids, babies, people, animals… anything that breathes!

PB: Do you do anything before a shoot to prepare yourself?

SB: I need to remember to eat. I sometimes get so excited on shoots that I actually forget.

PB: What is your favorite set up to shoot with?

SB: I can shoot with anything. The best camera is always the one that’s with you at the moment. I prefer to use Nikon and I never leave home without my 50mm f/1.4 lens.

PB: Who are your greatest influences in the art world?

SB: Although my photography is mostly  influenced by news and current events, I get lost in any of the celebrated mid-century contemporary painters like Willem De Kooning, Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol and French Impressionists like Edgar Degas and Claude Monet.

PB: What is your favorite photography quote?

SB: Ansel Adams once said, “There are always two people in the photograph, the photographer and the viewer.”

PB: Who are your three favorite photographers?

SB: I like photographs that tell stories. I love Steven Meisel and Peter Lindbergh in the contemporary realm. For historical, it’s Robert Frank.

PB: If you were to do anything else for a living, what would it be?

SB: I’d be a creative director. Or a chef!

PB: What is your favorite photograph that you have taken?

SB: I won my first award at a local photo show in New Jersey with this image (below). It was taken with film.

PB: What is your favorite personal picture that you have taken?

SB: This image (below) is my all-time personal favorite for quite a few reasons. First, it shows diversity, creativity and independence all in a single frame. Second, it’s actually a portrait of my son, Jake, at a very important milestone moment. In a way, it also defines a new generation.

Check out more of Sue Barr’s work at and her PhotoServe portfolio.