Christmas Tree in New York City
The top photograph was taken in 1971
and the bottom photograph taken in 1977.
Richard C. Bray was born September 26, 1929, the grandson of a NY Congressman. He received his doctorate in Philosophy from Columbia University in 1961, where he became a faculty biochemist. His work at Columbia left him unfulfilled and his longing to devote his life to photography led him to leave his position to follow his dream.
He traveled obsessively, covering every state in the U.S. and 16 countries abroad. In a letter dated 1951 he wrote that he had stayed in 186 hotel rooms and hitch-hiked in 1025 cars. When he wasn't traveling he spent his days walking the streets of New York photographing ordinary people in urban life, and documenting the city's landmarks, beaches, architecture, and neighborhoods. It was often his goal to seek out and produce photographs in similar subject matter which he referred to as "studies". His style includes various photographic approaches from abstracts to experimental to street photography.
Richard was reclusive, not in the usual sense, but more in his inability to tolerate people in society. Therefore he literally lived out his life through the eye of the camera. His peculiar nature left him with no desire to sell or publish his work. The archive, spanning from the 1950's until his death in 1993 was recently discovered upon the death of his wife.
We are so fortunate to have found the entire life's work of such a unique individual. As we have sorted through thousands of photographs the true personality of the artist has emerged. He found beauty in so many things and when beauty was expected (such as the tree that millions visit each year) he went even farther to make it his own. It is now at this time of the season that we appreciate the work of this amazing photographer - and to see the tree at Rockefeller Center the way that Richard C. Bray saw it.
To view more of the Richard C. Bray archive visit the website.