Barry Kaplan

Why have I chosen to use the medium of photography?

Photography stops time and can convey multiple interpretations of a scene to the viewer, mirroring-but-simplifying life’s complexities. It can capture “immediacy” and distill an event or phenomena into a potentially iconic, single, immediate representation. It reveals something about what is in front of the lens, but also something about the values and mood of the photographer in what will become the composition and the mood of the photograph.

What are my main themes and approach?

There are many layers, levels, ideologies that we impose on the objects that we experience. A good photograph to me, isolates and reveals a layer, level, or ideological narrative that may be less conscious or less frequently used by a viewer. Some of the techniques I use to achieve this include:

  • Unusual juxtaposition of objects or subject-background relationship
  • Unusual use, or compositional prominence, of commonly-used objects
  • Gradation of light (either at “capture” or “post-production processing”) to emphasize and deemphasize parts of the composition
  • Tight cropping to eliminate compositional elements that are outside my concept of “key message” of my photograph
  • Stark symmetry or asymmetry in the composition
  • Computer-based manipulation an image.

What are common subjects in my photography?

The inner workings of common things: Ambiguity, humor and floating meanings, handwriting, graffiti, traffic signs, things used in surprising ways to represent other things, the power of labels and captions, and landscapes (rural and urban).

What do I want to communicate?

Strength and grace in people, beauty and humor in objects, and uniqueness and dignity in the ordinary.


  • Kingston This Week (2003 to 2005) and The Heritage/EMC (2007) newspapers.
  • Profile Kingston and Kingston Life magazines (2001 to 2005).
  • Wedding photographer in Kingston (1999 to 2001).
  • Providence Continuing Care Centre’s 2003 annual report, and the Kingston Whig Standard’s 2003 advertising supplement for the Council on Aging.
  • The Boiler Room Climbing Gym, Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Association, the City of Kingston, Beth Israel Synagogue, and the Kingston Jewish Council have licensed, and are still using some my stock images.

Exhibitions & Publications

  • “Contemplate” (June 2003), approximately 30 of my pictures, held in a storefront of a 19th century building in downtown Kingston.
  • “Jewish artists of Kingston” (February 2008), approximately 20 of my pictures, held in the lobby of Queen’s University’s Biosciences building.
  • The memoirs of communication scholar and Queen’s University professor – John Meisel, “A Life of Learning and Other Pleasures”, published by Wintergreen Studios, feature my photos of Prof. Meisel.
  • "7 x 7" (Jan - Feb 2015), at Gallery Raymond in mid-town Kingston