- peter barry
410 599 3637
Born New York City, 1945.
1959 High School of Art & Design, Photography.
1990 Maryland State Arts Council Grant
Observational from birth, expressive soon after, 50 some since making my first exposure. New York City (Manhattan) born, Subway raised, Public, (Art & Design) High school.
"R.I.P. BALTIMORE" 11 year project, bringing awareness to the ongoing high murder rate in Baltimore City.
A Wall project, examining the interior walls of 'Row Houses' as the appear briefly, externally, after the demolition of the house next to where they stood.
The printing of a body of Black and White images spanning 50 plus years. Many of them never in print.
From the time of sitting next to my mother on the NY Subway, feet dangling off the edge of straw seats, ceiling fans turning, and the endless supply of every type of face parading before me, I enjoyed LOOKING!
All of my relatives expressed themselves audibly, or visually. Painters, Sculptors, Designers, players of violin, piano, and wind instruments. I loved LISTENING!
I found myself visiting Raleigh, North Carolina in the mid 50's to see my Uncle, who was Professor of Design at N.C.State University. It was the first time I saw, 4 bathrooms, and 2 water fountains. I never thought in terms of, 2 kinds of MEN, and 2 kinds of WOMEN. I never thought of two different supplies of, WATER. I looked at the signs, the plastic engraved ones, the brass etched ones. I thought about the machines that made them, the people operating those machines, the spelling out of words:"W-H-I-T-E M-E-N", "COLORED MEN", "COLORED WOMEN". The drilling of the holes, the person screwing the signs to the door, mounting them to the water fountain. Days later I saw new signs on two fountains in the Sears and Roebuck, downtown Raleigh: "MEN" and "GENTLEMEN". I hated HATRED!
It was more as, not understanding the thought process behind it all. But there I was, LOOKING at it, wondering, was I the only one seeing it? Back in Manhattan, we had 2 bathrooms, 1 water fountain. Later I came to understand the the thought process was not unique to North Carolina in the 50's, but everywhere. Just not as that graphic. The same without the 'Signs'.
I returned to NYC, to Junior High School, to Eisenhower's February, 1955, "Brotherhood Week". There was a Poster competition for the Week. I depicted a traditional movie theatre, bright Marquee, carpeting, ticket booth, and movie posters. The theatre was bordered with a sidewalk out front, and an alley on the side. The alley wall I did in charcoal grey with a single door lite with a single yellow light bulb illuminating a sign: "COLORED". I was told by my Art teacher that it would not be accepted, because that "Was not Brotherhood", I responded, I know.
I have been involved in photography 50 years. The joy is in the seeing, story telling, assembling. Years ago I heard a woman describe, define, DOCUMENTARY: " The function of documentary is not to make a court case, Thats the function of the courts. The function is to raise a reasonable doubt that perhaps the world works in a slightly different way then the way in which you had previously perceived that it did."
In 2004 I wrote, We must hold the mirror up, there should be no bliss to those who choose to ignore.