E. G. Barnhill
Florida Photographer, Adventurer, Entrepreneur

Gary Monroe

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Florida Book Awards, Bronze Medal for Visual Arts
"Provides a wonderful insight into the world of Florida's tourism industry through the eyes of E.G. Barnhill as an unsung character of hand-colored photography."--R. Lynn Whitelaw, founding director and curator, Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art

"A visual feast. Like the Highwaymen, Barnhill created his own version of the landscape, based on the real environment yet in a fantastic otherworldly palette."--Rick Kilby, author of Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de León and Florida's Magical Waters

"These dramatic hand-painted photographs capture old Florida with color and light."--Lu Vickers, coauthor of Remembering Paradise Park: Tourism and Segregation at Silver Springs

"Takes us on a historical voyage while we visit Florida landscapes as seen through Barnhill's lens."--Larry Roberts, author of Florida’s Golden Age of Souvenirs, 1890-1930

In the age of railroads and steamships, of frontier Florida and the tourism boom of the early 1900s, photographer E. G. Barnhill set up shop in the young city of St. Petersburg. He pioneered a popular new type of tourist art, colorizing black-and-white snapshots taken by himself and his customers. He sold many of his hand-colored photographs as postcards or home décor.

Barnhill applied watercolors to black-and-white prints according to his own sense of light and palette and his interpretation of consumer demand. Visitors wanted one-of-a-kind works of art to help them remember the experience of Florida. Unlike other colorists of the time whose landscapes were airbrushed to appear dreamy and ethereal, Barnhill captured the state's clear, brisk colors with richness and intensity. He pushed aside conventions by using matte instead of glossy print paper to soak up colors better, and with radical experiments in gold toning and uranium dyes, which created unearthly hues.

Filled with vibrant images of Barnhill’s unique creations, precursors to the popular landscape art of the Highwaymen and others, this book showcases a little-known artist whose inventive techniques--particularly his uranium-dye coloring--merit a place in the story of American photography. A fascinating mix of photographic realism and individual artistic vision, his work reveals both the Florida that was and the Florida that tourists wanted to believe in.

Gary Monroe, a native of Miami Beach, has photographed throughout Brazil, Israel, Cuba, India, Trinidad, Poland, and Egypt, among other international destinations. He is best known for his long-term photographic involvements with the elderly’s old world culture of South Beach, Haiti during the end of the Duvalier regime and foray into democracy, and tourism as a rite of passage. He has received various honors and distinctions for his work, including two National Endowments for the Arts, four Florida Humanities Council Fellowships, a State of Florida arts fellowship, and two Fulbright Foundation fellowships. Monroe is the author of The Highwaymen: Florida’s African-American Landscape Painters and three other books on Florida’s Highwaymen artists. He has written nine books, most of which acknowledge unrecognized self-taught Florida artists. His most recent book, E. G. Barnhill: Florida Photographer, Adventurer, Entrepreneur, highlights the artist’s hand-colored photographs.
Sample Chapter(s):
Press Kit

Florida Book Award for Visual Arts, Bronze - 2017

Showcases Barnhill's best work.
--Creative Loafing Tampa

The art of the story lies with Barnhill and how he made a living off tourists with his picture post cards....allowing them to take home a Florida experience color-stained with memories.....Monroe has preserved the process and reality of making these memories, which, in turn, makes his book a treasure indeed.
--Creative Loafing Tampa

The life and art of a man who set up shop in St. Petersburg as part of Florida's tourist boom in the early 1900s. . . . Collects dozens of Barnhill's photographs of Florida scenes, which he hand-colored to produce dreamy effects that later influenced the Highwaymen as well as helping to shape the image of the state that drew travelers then and now.
--Tampa Bay Times

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