Photography – chronological index

Annotations

Barry Kay’s prestigious career in photography was set off by a 35mm camera he received as a birthday gift in 1973.

His profound interest in human nature and characteristics found expression in the most remarkable socio-anthropological studies and documentaries. When once asked about his motivation of photographing subjects of this nature, Kay succinctly replied: “I love humans”. This statement constitutes the very precept underlying and permeating all of his photographic creations.

Kay’s photographic activities also extended to vividly and uniquely capturing stage artist acting and dancing in costumes and scenery he designed for the theatre.

Die anderen Frauen

Socio-anthropological documentary
Subject: Social sciences; humanities; transgender; transvestism, transsexuality, cross dressing

Created: 1974-1975

An extensive portrait of the unique transvestite and transsexual community of Sydney, Australia.

In 2003, Christopher Hirst of the The Independent, London, in his obituary about the publisher Anthony Mathews, describes Barry Kay’s documentary as “a groundbreaking photo-essay”.

Publication:
Dieter Fricke Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1976
ISBN: 3-881840-00-1

Deutsche Bibliothek¹, Frankfurt am Main; Signatur: D 77 b/884
Deutsche Bücherei², Leipzig; Signatur: 1977 B 1483

Executed in monochrome, cover photo in colour

¹) ²) In 1999, as a result of the German reunification of 1990, both libraries were merged as Deutsche Bibliothek and renamed in 2006 to Deutsche Nationalbibliothek while retaining operations at both locations.



As a Woman / The Other Women

Socio-anthropological documentary
Subject: Social sciences; humanities; transgender; transvestism, transsexuality, cross dressing

Created: 1974-1975

An extensive portrait of the unique transvestite and transsexual community of Sydney, Australia.

In 2003, Christopher Hirst of the The Independent, London, in his obituary about the publisher Anthony Mathews, describes Barry Kay’s documentary as “a groundbreaking photo-essay”.

Publications:

American edition – As a Woman
St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1976
ISBN: 0-312065-00-1

English edition – The Other Women
Mathews Miller Dunbar Ltd, London, 1976
ISBN: 0-903811-17-0

Australian distribution – The Other Women
Bookwise, Sydney

British Library, London; Shelfmark: YK.1922.b.9009
Library of Congress, Washington, DC; LC Control No.: 76012518
National Library of Australia, Canberra, ACT; Bib ID; 2508426

Preceding above publications, a feature appeared in the
Observer Magazine, issue 24, August 1975

A portfolio of selected portraits from As a Woman
C International Photo Magazine, Edition 9, September 2009
Ivorypress, London & Madrid

Executed in monochrome, cover photo in colour




Book jacket

Changing Bodies

Socio-anthropological documentary
Subject: Social sciences; humanities; body beautification and adornment; the human body as the object of vanity

Created: 1979-1982; completed 1983
Unpublished
Photographs were primarily taken in London and Los Angeles

A comprehensive account of extraordinary images and compositions illustrating the human endeavour of beautifying, transforming and remodelling the body by means of, among others, make-up, tattooing, piercing, body-building and extensive corrective surgery.

Thames & Hudson, who were to publish the work, had already advanced to the stage of final plate mark-ups but then, unable to find a suitable co-production deal, abandoned the project. Barry Kay’s untimely death unfortunately prevented him from pursuing its publication elsewhere.

Changing Bodies was to be prefaced with an introduction by Kay’s friend, Germaine Greer. In it she explores, inter alia, parallels such as between the African Nuer and modern western consumer societies, juxtaposing their respective purpose and meaning of body art and, as the case may be, mutilation in relation to the images captured by Kay.

However, as a result of the publishers’ decision to halt the project, Greer withdrew her script. Eventually, in 1986, she published it independently under the title “One Man’s Mutilation is Another Man’s Beautification”, appearing in her collection “The Madwoman’s Underclothes: Essays and Occasional Writings, 1968-1985” (Picador, London, ISBN: 0 330 30149 7).

Executed in monochrome, cover photo in colour



Covent Garden Market

Documentary
Subject: Sociology; humanities; people and their public environment

Created: 1974
Publication: ‘Observer Magazine’, London; [issue?];
‘Schöner Wohnen’, Gruner + Jahr, Hamburg; [issue?]

Images of a farewell folk fest at Covent Garden Market in London, for centuries a historic institution of sentiments in some sort, before its relocation from the neighbouring Royal Opera House to a far less romantic place in Vauxhall.

Executed in colour



Crete

Documentary
Subject: Sociology; humanities; indigenous people and their habitat

Created: 1973
Unpublished

The photographs contained in this file are Kay’s first attempts of exploring the medium of photography during a visit to the Mediterranean island of Crete.

Executed in monochrome



Egypt

Documentary
Subject: Sociology; humanities; religion; pilgrimage to Mecca

Created: [date?]
Unpublished

The images in this file record Cairo residents and their graphic expressions and statements in anticipation of their respective hâji and umra (pilgrimage and visit) to the holy shrine at the Ka’ba in Mecca.

Executed in colour




Magazine cover

Isadora

Feature
Subject: Performing arts; humanities; theatre, dance, ballet

Created: April 1981
Publication: ‘The Sunday Times Magazine’, London; 26 April 1981
Corresponding article: Isadora Dances Again

Kay’s own stills of dancers wearing their costumes designed by him for the forthcoming première of Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet of Isadora for The Royal Ballet, London.

Executed in colour



Ocker

Socio-anthropological documentary
Subject: Social sciences; humanities; character studies; socially lower strata stereotypes; Australians of European descent

Created: 1974-1977
Unpublished

Ocker is an Australian vernacular – used as noun, adverb and adjective alike – signifying the most basic characteristics and demeanour of socially lower strata, stereotype Australians of European descent. The Ocker is part of both the nation’s social history and presence and contributes a healthy earthiness to the fabric of Australian society. It is this aspect that Kay is bringing across in his series of photographs¹, which are, in Australian parlance – truly ocker.

In the widest sense, the nearest equivalent to Ocker would possibly be the London Cockney with its intrinsic values, language and peculiarities.

Executed in monochrome and colour

– – – – – –
¹) The photograph to the left is part of Changing Bodies [ibid]




Mirrors of the Truth, stage

Performers

Feature
Subject: Performing arts; humanities; theatre, opera; music; people; pop & punk

Created: June 1982; at the Nederlandse Opera
Publication: The Netherlands daily press, selected photographs; June 1982

As in the case of the ballet Isadora, during the final rehearsals of the double-billed operas Mirrors of the Truth and The Tell-Tale Heart, both taking place on the same set, Kay photographically documented his costume creations in action on stage.

Characteristic of Kay’s photographic work, these images reveal his gifted, sensuous perception in capturing distinctive facets of human countenance – something he never took for granted – as his compassion for fellow human beings and his subtle approach testify.

Executed in monochrome



Tea and Sugar Train

Documentary
Subject: Sociology; humanities; outback living and conditions; Australia

Created: 1976-1977
Unpublished

A photographic documentary of an eight-day journey on a goods and supply train across Austalia’s barren Nullarbor Plain, running from Port Augusta in Southern Australia to Kalgoorli in Western Australia. Here Kay has captured the life of the so-called Fettlers, whose only physical contact to the outside world consist of, among others, the bank, the post office, the butcher and the hairdresser being brought to them by train to their dessert outposts.

Executed in colour



Tree House

Feature
Subject: Architecture; humanities; human habitat; unique domestic architecture

Created: 1974 [?]
Publication: ‘Schöner Wohnen’, Gruhner+Jahr, Hamburg;
[issue, date?]

A series of photographs of a most extraordinary and imaginative weekend hideout, daringly nestling in the fork of a sturdy tree aloft a steep cliff overlooking the Pacific coast, Queenscliff, near Manly, NSW, Australia.

Executed in colour