Solomon Barnett – Photography

The Art of the Portrait

Solomon Barnett

Dominican Artist In His Studio
Golden-Haired Child by Frank Barnett
Andy and His Dog by Frank Barnett
Art of the Portrait-Frank Barnett 
Lost Boy by Frank Barnett

Frank Barnett, Photographer

An award-winning photographer, Frank Barnett was born in Chicago in 1939 to Jewish parents from very different backgrounds. His father was a first generation American with ties to an Eastern European Orthodox heritage. His mother, an only child of wealth and privilege, traced her ancestry to 18th century Dutch Jews whose portraits hung in the living room of Frank’s childhood home.

With undergraduate and graduate degrees in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Frank’s approach to his photography has been informed by his ethnicity, educational background, and the era into which he was born.

Frank has a long-standing interest in the devastating role that European colonization has played in the broken treaties and the broken spirits of indigenous peoples globally. He considers himself fortunate to have been educated as an Anthropologist, and to have worked with the indigenous peoples of New Mexico where he created an Addy award-winning catalog and national advertising campaign for the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s four museums including its Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Over the past 50 years, he has distinguished himself in the fields of academic publishing, advertising and public relations. He owned a carriage-trade bookstore, several fine art galleries, and authored a ground-breaking book, Working Together: Entrepreneurial Couples, with his late wife, Sharan.

Three of Frank’s black and white images were recognized by the Monochrome Awards in the categories of Fine Art, Photojournalism, and Photomanipulation in 2014. In the spring of 2015, his photographs were exhibited at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, an exhibit accompanied by FotoMacher – Examining Lives with Jewish Eyes, a 240-page coffee table book.

Paul Haist, longtime editor of the Jewish Review, wrote, “…like Avedon, Barnett sought access to unusual and edgy, outsider subjects including the Angola Prison Rodeo performers at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, nursing home patients, and his late wife during her two-year losing battle with cancer.In the faces captured by Barnett in a maximum security prison, a nursing home, and a hospice, we see our own selves as much as anything in the faces of prisoners and the dying, those who have been dealt life sentences. While Barnett believes he stays on the outside, he has the ability to penetrate the world of those whom he photographs, to see them with the clarity of a stranger.”

Now nearly 80, Frank’s energy seems unstoppable. In late 2015, he moved back to Salem with his wife, Martha Solomon, also a photographer and writer. The couple opened a photography studio and gallery at the Willamette Heritage Center in the spring of 2017. Together, in the past year, they have produced two more coffee table books. The first, All American Toy Co. – All American Toys for All American Boys, featuring 200 of Frank’s photographs, documents the 70-year history of this Salem company. That led to an exhibit by the same title to be presented by the Oregon Historical Society Museum in September, 2019, to be curated by the couple. The second book, Photography In My Bones – Half a Century of Images by Frank Barnett, was the recipient of the 2017 Independent Publishers Silver Medal in Photography