Barbara Nitke is a New York photographer best known for her intimate and compassionate work in areas that have historically been considered alternative sex. She has long been a champion of the LGBTQ+, kink and sex worker communities. Nitke was born in 1950 and grew up in Virginia and Alaska. She originally wanted to be a writer but found that she was most comfortable with a camera in her hand. She is self taught in photography, having studied literature and philosophy at Baruch College, City University of New York. She has been on the faculty of School of Visual Arts since 1992.
Her photography practice spans hardcore porn sets in the 1980’s, to fetish porn in the 1990’s, to the private lives of BDSM lovers for the following decade. After 2005 her work expanded into an exploration of constructed narratives and portraiture featuring fashion models and people picked up on the street. Her most recent work, The Luxe Motel, is a series inspired by the movie The Grifters, which explores issues of sexual identity, transience and anxiety.