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Arthur Tress

American Photographer | Born: 1940
Arthur Tress (born November 24, 1940) is an American photographer. He is known for his staged surrealism and exposition of the human body.

Tress was born in Brooklyn, New York. The youngest of four children in a divorced family, Tress spent time in his early life with both his father, who remarried and lived in an upper-class neighborhood, and his mother, who remained single after the divorce and whose life was not nearly so luxurious. At age 12 he began to photograph circus freaks and dilapidated buildings around Coney Island in New York City, where he grew up.

Tress studied at Abraham Lincoln High School in Coney Island, and gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. After graduating from Bard College in 1962, Tress moved to Paris, France to attend film school. While living in France, he traveled to Japan, Africa, Mexico, and throughout Europe. He observed many secluded tribes and cultures and was fascinated by the roles played by the shaman of the different groups of people. The cultures to which he was introduced would play a role in his later work. Tress spent the spring and summer of 1964 in San Francisco, documenting the Republican Convention that nominated Barry Goldwater, civil rights demonstrations at segregated car dealerships on Van Ness Avenue, and the Beatles launching their 1964 tour. Tress took over 900 photographs that were put away and re-discovered in 2009, and featured in a show at San Francisco's deYoung Museum.

He currently resides in San Francisco, California.

Source: Wikipedia



Arthur Tress began his first camera work as a teenager in the surreal neighborhood of Coney Island where he spent hours exploring the decaying amusement parks. Later, during five years of world travel, mostly in Asia and Africa, he developed an interest in ethnographical photography that eventually led him to his first professional assignment as a U.S. government photographer recording the endangered folk cultures of Appalachia. Seeing the destructive results of corporate resource extraction, Tress began to use his camera to raise environmental awareness about the economic and human costs of pollution. Focusing on New York City, he began to photograph the neglected fringes of the urban waterfront with a straight documentary approach. This gradually evolved into a more personal mode of “magic realism” combining improvised elements of actual life with stage fantasy that became his hallmark style of directorial fabrication. In the late 1960s Tress was inspired to do a series based upon children's dreams that combined his interests in ritual ceremony, Jungian archetypes, and social allegory. Later bodies of work dealing with the hidden dramas of adult relationships and the reenactments of male homosexual desire evolved from this primarily theatrical approach.

Beginning in the early 1980s, Tress began shooting in color, creating room-sized painted sculptural installations out of found medical equipment in an abandoned hospital on New York's Welfare Island. This led to a smaller scale exploration of narrative still life within a children's toy theater and a portable nineteenth-century aquarium.

Around 2002, Tress returned to gelatin silver, exploring more formalist themes in the style of mid- century modernism, often combining a spontaneous shooting style with a constructivist's sense of architectural composition and abstract shape. In addition to images of California skateboard parks, his recent work includes the round images of the series Planets and the diamond-shaped images of Pointers.

Source: www.arthurtress.com

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Transrealites
Author: Athur Tress
Publisher: Bookport
Year: 2015 - Pages: 112
Since 1974, the importance of the exhibition The Collector of Dreams, curated by Alain Tournier, at the Rencontres d'Arles, which featured the works of Arthur Tress, has spread his fame throughout the world by way of numerous books and exhibitions. Unlike other photographers of his generation Arthur Tress, shattered the traditional genres by introducing a great deal of fiction into what normally would have been a documentary point of view thereby subverting the story. This book contains a selection of the best work of this great American photographer, ranging from photographs taken in the streets of Brooklyn and New York in the '50s, to the dream images and fantasies that made him famous . The choice of images reflect the influence that film, and especially neo-realist beginnings, had on his work leading to his vision of breaking the "street photography" convention of the time.
 
San Francisco 1964
Author: Athur Tress
Publisher: Prestel
Year: 2012 - Pages: 112
Sixty-four newly discovered images by the distinguished photographer Arthur Tress capture a uniquely American time and place. Best known for dreamlike staged imagery of people, places, and things, Tress is an accomplished photographer whose career spans more than fifty years. This monograph presents for the first time a collection of pictures the photographer took in 1964 as a young man newly arrived in San Francisco. That summer the city was ground zero for a historic culture clash as the site of both the 28th Republican National Convention and the launch of the Beatles' first North American tour. The resulting photographs reveal a theme familiar to Tress's many fans: the intersection of the absurd and the mundane. Formally posed portraits on the streets of San Francisco as well as candid views of shop windows, signs, and other idiosyncrasies of the local landscape capture the vibrant scene in the Bay Area at the dawn of a chaotic era. An introductory essay discusses the historical context of the works while an interview with Tress illuminates the making and rediscovery of these brilliant images.
 
Fantastic Voyage : Photographs 1956-2000
Author: Athur Tress
Publisher: Bulfinch
Year: 2001 - Pages: 200
A retrospective study of the forty-five-year career of acclaimed American art photographer Arthur Tress combines 250 full-color and duotone photographs with an in-depth biographical essay of the artist and an incisive critical analysis of his work and his place in American photographic history. 10,000 first printing.
 
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