Bob Barry (photographer)

Bob Barry (born March 17, 1943) is an American actor and photographer based in Los Angeles, California. He is known for his "performance portraits" of jazz, R&B and blues musicians.[1]

Bob Barry
Robert Barry Horowitz

(1943-03-17) March 17, 1943 (age 78)
OccupationPhotographer, actor

Early life and acting careerEdit

Barry was born Robert Barry Horowitz in Suffern, New York. He grew up in Spring Valley, New York and worked as an actor in New York City.[2] As Robert Barry, he appeared Off-Off Broadway in Alligator Man,[3] Off-Broadway in The Brass Butterfly with Sam Waterston[4] and made his Broadway debut in the 1976 musical So Long, 174th Street starring Robert Morse.[5] During this period Barry established side careers as a lounge entertainer and television commercial performer. Among his commercial assignments was the role of a singing raisin for Post Raisin Bran.

Photography careerEdit

While pursuing acting work in New York, Barry was a model for photographer Diane Arbus's 1968 Zeiss-Ikon Camera ad campaign. Upon moving to Los Angeles in 1980, he developed an interest in professional photography. His subsequent friendship with guitarist John Pisano led Barry to photograph over 160 noted jazz guitarists at Pisano's weekly "Guitar Night" event, including George Van Eps, Herb Ellis, Al Viola, Howard Alden, Joe Diorio, Anthony Wilson, Jimmy Wyble, Dori Caymmi and Phil Upchurch.

Barry's mentor, photographer Ray Avery, used the phrase "performance portrait"[1] to describe Barry's approach of photographing musicians during performance using only available light. Barry practiced his craft at jazz festivals, concerts and clubs in the Los Angeles area, such as Vitello's, Catalina's and the Jazz Bakery, which made him their official photo archivist in 2012. His photographs have appeared in the artwork for music releases by Kenny Burrell, Rosemary Clooney, Diane Schuur, Pat Martino, Mary Stallings, Mary Murphy, Johnny Rivers and Danny Seraphine.

Barry serves on the committee of the Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography.[6] Barry's photography was the subject of a 2012 documentary by filmmaker Dailey Pike.[7] Titled Bob Barry: Jazzography in Black and White, the nonfiction film is an examination of Barry's life and careers.[8][9] It was awarded at the Tupelo Film Festival.[10][11]

Public exhibitionsEdit

  • American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO. “Jazz In Black & White” May–August 2008
  • Flazh! Alley Gallery, San Pedro, CA. “The Brotherhood” May–June 2008
  • Flazh! Alley Studio, San Pedro, CA. “Jazzography: The Color Performance Portraits of Bob Barry” November 29, 2010 – January 8, 2011
  • American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO. “Reflections of Jazz” July 2011 – October 2011
  • Brand Library of Music & Art, Barnsdall Municipal Art Gallery, Hollywood, CA. “The Performance Portraits of Bob Barry” February 2011
  • University of Maryland, College Park, MD. “Convergence – Jazz, Films, and the Visual Arts” February 14 – May 31, 2013
  • Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA. “Jazzed” April 3–25, 2013
  • American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, MO. “Jazzography – The performance Portraits of Bob Barry” May 6 – July 21, 2013
  • Crown Plaza Hotel at LAX Jazz Club, Los Angeles, CA. 23 Images (permanent collection)
  • Vitello's Restaurant & Jazz Club, Studio City, CA. 40 Images (permanent collection)
  • Universal Studios, Henry Mancini Building, Universal City, CA. 19 Images (permanent collection)



  1. ^ a b Neil Thrun, “Photographer Bob Barry captures the energy of performers in ‘Jazzography’”, Kansas City Star, June 8, 2013
  2. ^ Ibsen, David Allen. "PRO-PORTRAIT: Performance Photographer Bob Barry—photography is about getting to know people." Archived October 13, 2016, at the Wayback Machine. GetTheFive.
  3. ^ George L. George, "The Party & Alligator Man," Backstage, July 28, 1972
  4. ^ Clive Barnes, "A Smooth and Elegant Brass Butterfly," The New York Times, January 31, 1970
  5. ^ Clive Barnes, “So Long, 174th Street Is New Musical at the Harkness," The New York Times, April 28, 1976
  6. ^ Al Kratzer, “Bob Barry – Performance Portraits”, The Painted Note Gallery, February 22, 2011
  7. ^ "Jazz Photographer Bob Barry Profiled In New Feature" Archived April 4, 2015, at LA Jazz.
  8. ^ "Filmmaker highlights reunion session in his documentary about guitarist Joe Pass". Glendale News-Press. May 2, 2014|By Kirk Silsbee
  9. ^ "JJA Member Updates: July 2012". JJA News, July 18, 2012 | By Michael J. West
  10. ^ “2013 Tupelo Film Festival Winners”, Tupelo Film Festival website
  11. ^ "Jazzography in Black & White" a film about photographer Bob Barry by Dailey Pike—FIVE THOT discover ideas, people, views, lifestyles and business Archived November 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. GetTheFive
  12. ^ Redefining mainstream: African-American works take their rightful place in history –[dead link]

External linksEdit