Cambria, CA

Surfers, Ft. Lauderdale, 1980
Gelatin Silver Print

Arthur Tress is a notable American photographer born on November 24, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York. He is well known for his staged surrealism and exposition of the human body. He studied painting and art history at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (1958–62), but by the mid-1960s was committed to photography. His first published work, for anthropological journals, resulted from travels in Mexico, Japan, India, Europe, Alaska and Africa. In 1971 a more personal direction was demonstrated in his portfolio Open Space in the Inner City , which pictures the inhabitants of New York in the squalor and decay of their environment.

His first acclaimed book, The Dream Collector (Richmond, VA, 1972), consists of re-enactments of children’s dreams, showing elements of fantasy and the grotesque that he has continued to explore. In his later work he concentrated on theatrical and psychologically revealing studies of human relationships, for example in Theater of the Mind (New York, 1976), on homo-erotic fantasy in Facing Up (New York, 1980) and on the ritualistic aspects of contemporary life. His still-lifes and two major sequences, Shadow (New York, 1975) and The Teapot Opera (1980; pubd New York, 1988), confirm him as a photographer of great range and imagination.