Tom Baril was born in Connecticut in 1952. After graduating from New York’s School of Visual Arts in 1980 with a BA in photography, he served as Robert Mapplethorpe’s exclusive print maker. Since then Baril has distanced himself from the Mapplethorpe work and has enjoyed a solo career by bringing something uniquely his own: stunning imagery from both behind the camera and out of the darkroom. In the last 25 years, printmaking is not all that Baril has mastered. He embraces every nuance of the medium. Whether it is 4 x 5 Polaroid pinhole or 8 x 10 collodion wet-plate, Baril manages to astonish with technically perfect and exquisitely pure prints. Baril’s studies include urban architecture, minimalist seascapes, and meticulously detailed botanicals and still lifes.
One of Baril’s biggest accomplishments to date has been succeeding to change they way some people look at flowers. Few photographers are capable of bringing their viewers to look on something as familiar as a flower with such a new and fresh perspective. “If I am successful, the photograph reveals the underbelly, the overlooked and the under appreciated.” In the words of one commentator, Baril’s “exquisitely imagined and powerfully rendered images are clearly founded upon the photographic masters of the past. But his tones and techniques demonstrate a contemporary vision, offering an elegant synthesis of artistic tradition and current aesthetics.” In other words, the effect achieved in Baril’s work is both classic and contemporary.
Baril’s work has been the subject of two monographs, the highly acclaimed self-titled book published by 4AD in 1997, and “Botanica” published by Arena Editions in 1999. His work has been featured in numerous publications, and is among prestigious collections both public and private: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Center for Creative Photography, the George Eastman House, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, The Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Polaroid Collection, and the Elton John Collection.