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Barney P. Enright - Enright Studio 1916 - 41

Fred Beers, a local Perry historian and author of "The Northwest Corner" articles in the Perry Daily Journal, wrote this about Barney in an article that appeared, coincidentally on Barney's birthday, May 18, 2001.

"Mr. Enright had a studio on a balcony at the rear of the Southside Pharmacy in the building now occupied by city officers on the south side of the square. The pharmacy was operated by E.E. Nelson, a friendly competitor of my Dad’s business. Mr. Enright and his 4x5 Speed Graphic were a familiar sight all over this town, indeed the north-central area of Oklahoma. Most families here in the early days had portraits made in his studio. They chose for a backdrop one of the hand-painted pull-down screens hanging from a wall in the spacious studio occupied by Mr. Enright. His priceless contribution to posterity was the huge collection of black and white portraits of various buildings and events in this city during the years he practiced his craft here."

Image of the Enright Studio Photo Finishers StampBarney's affiliation with Nelson's Pharmacy began in 1916. He did Kodak photo finishing for the pharmacy in addition to his own studio work. The stamp on the right is commonly seen on photographs processed by Barney. A special edition of Perry Republican 1917 - The Story of Noble County Oklahoma contained the following article "Drug Store Enjoys Merited Popularity" about the South Side Pharmacy.

Portion of a postcard showing the front of Nelson's Pharmacy "The Kodak department is really a department of its own. It is in the care and charge of Barney Enright, a student of photography. Mr. Enright has had years of experience in photographic work and the majority of illustrations used in this edition were made by Enright and finished at the South Side Pharmacy. Mr. Enright has made a study of kodaks and kodak finishing and the South Side Pharmacy guarantees his work. The average patron of the South Side Pharmacy would not realize what an important department is made of the kodak work. A complete finishing room is arranged in the rear of the store with all the modern conveniencies for the finishing in proper syle of all kodak work. The complete line of Eastman Kodaks and kodak supplies are carried in stock at all times by the store."

In another of Fred Beers' articles dated May 29, 1998 we learn more about Barney. "Mr. Enright was sort of the unofficial town photographer. He captured many local people and events on film with his large, hood-shrouded camera, often using flash powder for out­door settings in poor light conditions. He photographed so many events and people over such a long period of time that he must have been the omnipresent guest at just about every occasion of any consequence in Perry for several generations."

"Mr. Enright had a rather large frame topped by a shock of white hair. He limped perceptibly because of a lifelong foot deformity, and his fingernails were permanently stained brown by the chemicals used to develop film in his darkroom. He was serious about his art, and good at it, but he also had a sly sense of humor and he would look for the irony in composing some of his shots. He would carefully arrange each individual posing for a picture and details of the background were scrutinized to make sure they belonged in the final print. He believed that photos needed to tell a story, and that they were not necessarily intended merely to capture a slice of life or a brief moment of time. I remember asking him one day to explain the meaning of a "candid camera,” when that term was just coming into vogue. Mr. Enright huffed and shrugged as if to dismiss the question, but eventually told me that "candid" just had to do with the small 35 mm cameras to distinguish them from the more professional 4x5 film plates that he himself preferred. He never seemed too busy to answer frivolous questions from the swarm of kids who hung around his studio. He would not have been a member of the paparazzi in today's culture and society. But he was a dedicated craftsman who took pride in what he did and today we are indebted to him for the body of work he left behind."