Guide to the Arthur Tress Photographs M2214

Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Arthur Tress photographs
creator: Tress, Arthur
Identifier/Call Number: M2214
Physical Description: 2 Linear Feet (58 prints in two boxes)
Date (inclusive): 1965-1983
Abstract: Prints by American photographer Arthur Tress.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.

Conditions Governing Use

While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], Arthur Tress photographs (M2214). Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Tress (Nov. 24, 1940- ) has had an extremely active career and is well published, with much of his work incorporating his role as both director and photographer. His photographs engage a rich visual symbolism, often presenting dream-like, childhood states. He has also documented San Francisco in the 1960s and composed and photographed fantasy toy stage settings, such as the Teapot Opera. Over his career his work has been constantly inventive, often playful, always psychologically probing. Born in Brooklyn in 1940, Tress began his photography career as a teenager, photographing the dilapidated buildings and denizens of Coney Island. Early on he developed an interest in ethnographic photography and the production of photographic narratives, which led to a commission from the New York State Council on the Arts to produce Open space in the inner city; ecology and the urban environment (1971). His book, The Dream collector (1972), with staged photographic work based on his interviews with children and employing these same children to perform their dreams is now considered a classic in the photobook literature. With Theater of the mind (1976) Tress moved to adult fantasies and begins a period of overtly erotic work. In Facing up (alternatively titled Phallic phantasy, (1980), Tress moved to overtly gay photographic work. In more recent years Tress has continued in the “directorial mode,” and worked in color with miniature stage settings, producing The Teapot opera and the Fish tank sonata. He continues to actively photograph and exhibit.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Anonymous gift ; 2017. Accession MSS 2017-111.

Scope and Contents

58 approximately 8" x 10" prints by photographer Arthur Tress. Most of the prints are on double weight gelatin silver paper and are dry mounted on board.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Photography, Artistic
Tress, Arthur


Series 1. Appalachia: People and Places

Scope and Contents

In 1968 Tress had his first one-person exhibition "Appalachia--People and Places", which was held at the Smithsonian Institute and the Sierra Gallery in New York City.
Box 1, Folder 1

AT.2007.5774 North Carolina, Elk Park. Children of Unemployed Miners Live in Squalor, Play With Dirty Doll 1968


Series 2. Bagman

box 1, folder 2

AT.2007.3568 Bagman, NY 1975

box 1, folder 3

AT.2007.3575 Bagman, NY 1975


Series 3. Dream Collector

box 1, folder 4

AT.2013.10338 Hockey Glove Fantasy, NY, NY

box 1, folder 5

AT.2013.10343 Boy in Flood Dream, NY 1971

box 1, folder 6

AT.2013.10349 Philip Hecksher's Dream, Bar Harbor, Maine

box 1, folder 7

AT.2013.10373 Girl in Aquarium with Sea Mammals, San Francisco, California 1972

box 1, folder 8

AT.2013.10378 Boy Listening to Musician, Biloxi, Miss. 1971

box 1, folder 9

AT.2013.10384 Girl in White Dress in Interior, Cape May, NJ 1971

box 1, folder 10

AT.2013.10402 Flying Dream, Queens, NY 1969

box 1, folder 11

AT.2013.10405 Boy in Labyrinth Maze, NY 1969

box 1, folder 12

AT.2016.10745 P.S.3 Dream Workshop, Rabbit by Window, NY 1969


Series 4. Elmer

box 1, folder 13

AT.2007.3354 Elmer is a Political Prisoner, NY 1977

box 1, folder 14

AT.2007.3372 Elmer at End of Day, NY 1977

box 1, folder 15

AT.2007.3375 Elmer At Peep Show, NY 1977

box 1, folder 16

AT.2007.3392 Elmer Takes the Temperature, NY 1977

box 1, folder 17

AT.2007.3422 Elmer Uses a Caliper, NY 1977

box 1, folder 18

AT.2007.3502 Elmer Inside Clock, E.H. 1977


Series 5. Eskimo

box 1, folder 19

AT.2012.9534 Eskimo Shaman, Point Hope, Alaska 1969


Series 6. India

box 1, folder 20

AT.2012.9520 Cow Horns, Toda Tribe, India 1965


Series 7. Japan

box 1, folder 21

AT.2012.9545 Fishing Floats, Japan 1965

box 1, folder 22

AT.2012.9548 Hiroshima, 1965. Double Exposure Showing Before + After Effects of Bomb 1965


Series 8. Male Nude/Gay/Facing Up

box 1, folder 23

AT.2007.6312 Pool Attendant, Miami Beach, Florida 1977

box 1, folder 24

AT.2008.1907 Nude In Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY 1980

box 1, folder 25

AT.2008.1916 Nude with Jeans, NY 1980

box 1, folder 26

AT.2008.1938 Corn God, New Hope, Pa. 1980

box 1, folder 27

AT.2008.1949 Pier Cruising, NY 1980

box 1, folder 28

AT.2008.1963 After the Bomb, Brooklyn, NY 1980

box 1, folder 29

AT.2008.2002 Leather Couple in Doorway, NY 1980

box 1, folder 30

AT.2008.2124 The Ledger Book, NY 1980

box 1, folder 31

AT.2008.2239 The Prussian Soldier + Drinking Comrade, NY 1980

box 1, folder 32

AT.2008.2246 2 Leather Guys in Pier Doorways, NY 1980

box 1, folder 33

AT.2008.2253 Follow the Rules, NY 1980

box 1, folder 34

AT.2008.2363 Jung's dream, NY 1980

box 2, folder 1

AT.2008.2608 Rooftop Duet, NY 1977

box 2, folder 2

AT.2008.2613 Viper Vites, NY 1977

box 2, folder 3

AT.2008.6198 Man and Pump, NY

box 2, folder 4

AT.2009.6211 Man in Black Tape, NY

box 2, folder 5

AT.2009.6221 Grooming, NY

box 2, folder 6

AT.2009.6274 The Gardener's Fantasy, Cold Spring, NY 1977

box 2, folder 7

AT.2009.6292 Couple, NY 1977

box 2, folder 8

AT.2009.6308 Mousetrap, NY 1977

box 2, folder 9

AT.2009.6309 Urban Cowboy, NY 1980

box 2, folder 10

AT.2009.6315 Wounded Soldier, NY 1977

box 2, folder 11

AT.2009.6317 Wrench Fantasy, NY 1977

box 2, folder 12

AT.2009.6334 Pier Guy, NY 1977


Series 9. San Francisco

box 2, folder 13

AT.2007.6700 Man on Bench, SF, CA 1963


Series 10. Shadow

box 2, folder 14

AT.2007.0744 Shadow King under El, NY 1974

box 2, folder 15

AT.2007.0746 Shadow on Subway Stairs, NY 1974

box 2, folder 16

AT.2007.0776 Shadow Feeding Giant Eagle, NY 1974

box 2, folder 17

AT.2007.1771 Shadow: The Town, Arles, France 1974


Series 11. Spray

box 2, folder 18

AT.2007.0146 Oscillating Functions, NY 1983


Series 12. Still Life

box 2, folder 19

AT.2007.3833 Tennis Anyone? Light Box Collage, NY 1983

box 2, folder 20

AT.2007.3870 Virgo, Collage, NY, Astrology Page, Magazine 1983

box 2, folder 21

AT.2007.3871 Father of the Bride, Collage, NY 1983


Series 13. Teapot Opera

box 2, folder 22

AT.2007.4425 TPO 1981

box 2, folder 23

AT.2007.4510 TPO, I 1981

box 2, folder 24

AT.2007.4544 TPO, II 1981