After graduating from The Cooper Union School of Art, Stephen Barker assisted for Hans Namuth and architectural photographer Wolfgang Hoyt. Shooting professionally since 1985, his portraits on location have appeared in Vanity Fair, Italian Vogue, Forbes, Quest, ARTnews, Elle Decor, Arts & Antiques, Out, Details, Metropolitan Home, and Wolkenkratzer. In response to the AIDS crisis he worked within ACTUP, managing the Brooklyn Needle Exchange for two years, and also shot Nightswimming, published by Twin Palms in 1999.
Underlying all his subject matter is an ongoing fascination with the emotional weight of light and with the mechanics and politics of the very act of looking. He has had solo exhibitions in New York, Boston, Paris, and Zurich, and has taught at The Cooper Union, the International Center of Photography, and Bennington College. His work is in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library’s Collection of Prints & Drawings, the Center for Creative Photography, Arizona, and Fundacion Televisa, Mexico.
Most recently, his project Restoration* was shown at Cologne’s Museum Ludwig in the group show The Eighth Square, and a long-term work, The Archivist's Wig, was exhibited at the Bernard Toale Gallery in 2008. He lives on New York’s Lower East Side.