Artist Bio - Barry Salzman

Barry Salzman is an award-winning contemporary artist who currently works in photography, video and mixed media. His projects have been shown across the globe and his work widely published. He is the recipient of the 2018 International Photographer of the Year award in the Deeper Perspective category of the International Photography Awards (IPA), for a project entitled The Day I Became Another Genocide Victim that endeavours to humanise victims of the Rwandan genocide.

Salzman was born in Zimbabwe and grew up in South Africa during the Apartheid years, before emigrating to the United States of America, where he has worked for the last 35 years. He has had a lifelong passion for photography, and after an initial business career in New York, he transitioned to working as a full-time artist. He currently resides between New York City and Cape Town, when not travelling for a project or assignment.

Salzman’s interest in photography began as a teenager in South Africa. He was moved to document racially segregated areas, particularly the black informal settlements displaced to the outskirts of white suburbs, in an effort to understand the politically entrenched racial inequality that surrounded him. Today, his work continues to explore challenging social, political and economic issues, much of it focused on community, heritage and identity.  

Salzman’s latest exhibition The Other Side of Christmas will be shown at Deepest Darkest art gallery in Cape Town, South Africa from 7 November to 28 December 2019. This substantial body of work depicts everyday scenes across the American South between the 2014 USA mid-term elections, the precursor to the divisive 2016 Presidential elections, and Christmas.  It is Salzman’s personal exploration of the ‘American Dream’ and what it means to be ‘American’.

For the last six years, Salzman has worked on ongoing projects that attempt to challenge the universal fatigue around the genocide narrative. Mostly, he applies visual tools of abstraction to landscape images shot at precise locations where acts of genocide were perpetrated as a means of reminding us that ‘that place’ can be ‘any place’. 

Salzman’s trajectory as a respected photographer notwithstanding, his video work has been equally well received. His short film It Never Rained on Rhodes commemorates the German deportation of Jews from Rhodes Island in the Mediterranean during the Holocaust, and has been screened at various film festivals around the world. These include the Festival of Tolerance in Zagreb, Croatia in March 2015, the Festival of Tolerance in Slovenia in January 2016, and the 18th Annual New York Sephardic Jewish Film Festival in March 2015, among other showings.

Salzman’s writing has been included in critical publications such as ‘Sharing Makes the Picture: The Ubiquity of Image Sharing in Social Media

Networks’ in Vision Anew: The Lens and Screen Arts, which is edited by Adam Bell and Charles Traub and published by the University of California Press, 2015.  In addition, Salzman undertakes select commercial commissions for books and magazines. His commissions have been published in prestigious international titles, including Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue Travel + Entertaining, Design Boom and Australian Geographic.

He has a Bachelor of Business Science degree from the University of Cape Town, an MBA from Harvard Business School and an MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from The School of Visual Arts in New York City.