about collecting photography
I have been deeply involved with the photographic image for the past thirty years. My career in the arts began with pursuing degrees in painting and photography from Temple University,the Art Institute of Chicago and California Institute of the Arts.
From making photographs, I established a printing company specializing in duotone reproductions in catalogs for museums and galleries.
For much of my life, I have collected photographic images and in 1991, became a private dealer of photographs as a natural extension of this love. During this time I have acquired five unique photographic estates as well as numerous vital images from some of the world's best photographers.
Petaluma Argus-Courier, Wednesday, March 29, 2000
Worth a thousand words
By Yovanna Bieberich
The way a photograph can capture time, emotions, and feelings makes photography a unique art form. There's a certain magic about a photo that captivates viewers and causes them to pause in thought. It is this quality that has caused photography to become the main medium of the 20th century.
"Photographs are not static," explains Barry Singer of the Barry Singer Gallery. "You can look at the same picture and see something different each time you look. It can conjure up new feelings each time. That's the great experience of this art form. It's constantly renewing, which is why I gravitate towards it."
Barry Singer's passion for photography has led him into every area of the art form. Originally from Pennsylvania, Singer earned degrees in photography and painting from Temple University, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the California Arts Institute. After discovering it was difficult to make a living as an artist, in 1976 Singer opened up a printing company in Los Angeles. Singer Printing specialized in making duotone reproductions in catalogs for museums and galleries. "I did a lot of book printing for other photographers. That was about the time I started collecting photography myself," says Singer.
In 1981 Singer moved his business to Petaluma. and not long after that got his first taste of the photo dealing world. "In 1991, while I was running the printing business, I was offered [noted photographer] Lou Stoumen's estate. That was my first experience in photo dealing. I went to New York and sold 15 photos over the weekend. I decided that I really enjoyed doing it and began holding shows in my home. "
"Photography has been the anchor of my life," says Singer. "Now I specialize in helping other people build their collections."
Although some folks may feel that collecting art is a frivolous waste of money, Singer feels quite the contrary. "It really is an act of courage to spend money on something you don't need, but collecting photography helps develop one's personality. A photograph is a reflection of the personality of the one collecting," explains Singer.
Photography is one of the few art forms that is easily collectible; often works can be purchased for as little at $250. "You can't collect the history of painting or the history of sculpture. You can however, own photography. It's affordable. Even master photos are inexpensive," says Singer.
He explains that one can put together a good collection that's worth a lot. Collectors will often purchase photos that have certain themes or that reflect personal interests.
"A collector needs to take personal inventory. What is their core interest? Some people collect photos that have Coca-Cola bottles in them, or someone else might collect photos of hands," says Singer. "A good collection can be worth a lot more than the individual pieces."
Having gone from photographer, to printer, to dealer, Singer has come full circle in the world he loves. He has found running his own gallery to be a rich and rewarding experience. "Photographs have an ability to shape your vision and to create an environment," says Singer. "It's a contest between reality and unreality and the gallery is the arena in which the game is played out."
The Barry Singer Gallery is located at 11 Petaluma Blvd. North [as of May 2001, the gallery’s new address is 7 Western Avenue]. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is free.
For information, call 781-3200 or visit the gallery website at www.singergallery.com.