Last night Milk Gallery played host to Hunter Barnes, the photographer who beautifully documents hidden pockets of Americana. Barnes is constantly on the road, exploring the lifestyles of subcultures from bikers to Southern churchgoers. Milk fêted him in celebration of his new book, Roadbook. Barnes described working on it as “a spirit journey into what is unknown and worlds rarely seen.” We’d buy a ticket for that trip.
The gallery was poppin; everyone was sipping on free wine and gabbing about the gorgeous pictures, which were printed beautifully in Barnes’ darkroom in Oregon. Guests included legendary rock photographer Mick Rock, nightlife star Sophia Lamar, blogger Cipriana Quann of Urban Bush Babes, and model/photographer Charlotte Kidd. The crowd was an interesting mix of subcultures that would surely compel Barnes, including HBA cool kids wearing lighters as earrings, gallery hoppers, and some of the artist’s very own subjects. We spoke to one, a biker named Joe Libretto from New Rochelle, New York. “I met Hunter while he was still in school,” said Libretto. “He usually photographs me riding motorcycles.” Libretto’s bike, a 1989 Harley-Davidson Softail, was on display outside the gallery.
The artist seemed thrilled with the show, and was surrounded by a constantly circulating crowd of admirers. “I feel good, I feel good,” he told us. “This work is from fifteen years on the road. I actually just got off the road, so I’m gonna stick around for a while.” We asked if any particular subjects stood out to him. “They’re all the same to me, man. They’re all so great. I’m just happy they let me do it.”
Hunter Barnes: Roadbook opens at Milk Gallery today, and is on view through November 8th.