Arthur Tress: Rambles, Dreams, and Shadows (Hardcover)

Arthur Tress: Rambles, Dreams, and Shadows By James A. Ganz (Editor), Mazie M. Harris (Contributions by), Paul Martineau  (Contributions by) Cover Image

Arthur Tress: Rambles, Dreams, and Shadows (Hardcover)

By James A. Ganz (Editor), Mazie M. Harris (Contributions by), Paul Martineau (Contributions by)


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This richly illustrated volume is the first critical look at the early career of Arthur Tress, a key proponent of magical realism and staged photography.

Arthur Tress (b. 1940) is a singular figure in the landscape of postwar American photography. His seminal series, The Dream Collector, depicts Tress’s interests in dreams, nightmares, fantasies, and the unconscious and established him as one of the foremost proponents of magical realism at a time when few others were doing staged photography.

This volume presents the first critical look at Tress’s early career, contextualizing the highly imaginative, fantastic work he became known for while also examining his other interrelated series: Appalachia: People and Places; Open Space in the Inner City; Shadow; and Theater of the Mind. James A. Ganz, Mazie M. Harris, and Paul Martineau plumb Tress’s work and archives, studying ephemera, personal correspondence, unpublished notes, diaries, contact sheets, and more to uncover how he went from earning his living as a social documentarian in Appalachia to producing surreal work of “imaginative fiction.” This abundantly illustrated volume imparts a fuller understanding of Tress’s career and the New York photographic scene of the 1960s and 1970s.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from October 31, 2023, to February 18, 2024.
James A. Ganz is senior curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Product Details ISBN: 9781606068618
ISBN-10: 160606861X
Publisher: J. Paul Getty Museum
Publication Date: November 21st, 2023
Pages: 264
Language: English

“Along with several others of his cohort, Arthur Tress spearheaded the resurgence of the directorial mode in the 1970s, as well as his generation's engagement with previously taboo subject matter. With his unique blend of documentary and surrealist approaches, he has made a major contribution to his medium.”

—A. D. Coleman, photography critic and historian

“From poignant studies of the country’s Appalachian communities to the urban wreckages and disused spaces of New York, the publication reveals the emergence of Tress’s unique visual language, culminating in the dreamscapes and Surrealistic portraits of The Dream Collector (1972) and Theater of the Mind (1976), two early landmark series.”
— Rowland Bagnall

“This is a great introduction to Tress’s work, accompanied by accessible texts that highlight the key themes of the images.”
— Colin Pantall