Barret Nowadays

Many fans still wonder and ask around the same old question, "where is he nowadays?" and "what is he doing nowadays?" and "do you have any recent pics or info about him?"

To put their questions to rest, and hopefully give these fans a little more sleep at night, here's some general information that has appeared on the web regarding what Barret has been doing these days. And hopefully, these facts will dislodge some of the more disrespectful rumors that float about, so an info page about his whereabouts nowadays dosn't appear to be too harmful to his "legend persona" and in any case should put to rest the rumors.

On the side here is some basic FAQ about his recent activity, remember, this is not always 100 percent accurate, it's not endorsed by Barret, his family, or his agents. These are simply the most credible facts that have appeared on the internet last year, so it dosn't assure that they are absolutely correct.

Do you have any recent pics of Barret?

I choose not to post them out of respect. But recent pictures do exist and have proliferated all over the internet. The easiest place to find them is at the Barret Oliver Fanclub (on the homepage), but you need to sign up for the group. You can also find recent pictures of Oliver on Flickr (just search for "Barret Oliver Recent Photos"). But please note, he is very different in his appearance than he was as a young man. In the pictures, he wears glasses and has a full beard. He's an accomplished photography scholar now, so please be respectful and have an open mind.

If you don't want to do that, I'm sure by now you can find recent pics just by doing an image search for "Barret Oliver recent pictures."

Do you have any info about what Barret's doing these days?

What is fact...

Yes. This is where I can help you. It is a well known fact on many Barret fan sites, and Barret info movie pages that he is currently working as a photography instructor and a professional photographer. As of February 2004 according to the IMDb (Internet Movie Database):

"He teaches photography in Los Angeles, Calafornia. After learning the 19th Century Wet Plate Process from artist Stephan Berkman and studying with master photographers Cole Westin and George Tice, Barret's print work has been part of numerous gallery and museum exhibitions. He has also done Wet Plate process in Ireland for a recent Guiness commercial and in Romania for the motion picture Cold Mountain. In addition, he has writen articles on photography and contributed to demonstrations and workshops."

Most recently, Oliver has been teaching photography classes in Los Angeles, and some of his photographic works have been put in galleries and exhibitions. He is respected for his knowledge of 19th century photography techniques and has written a book called "A History of Woodburytype: The First Successful Photochemical Printing Process and Walter Bentley Woodbury." (2007)

He was also involved in the wet plate photography for the movie Cold Mountain. He is one of the 10 featured emerging photographers in the 2007 Silverstein Photography Annual (SPA).

What is "truthy" (Confirmed, but not necessarily fact):

A while back, a Barret fan went to his photo exhibition, spoke to him and shook his hand. He didn't tell Barret he was a fan, nor did they discuss his acting career or movies.

As for his artwork, they are all monochrome, and the subjects are hard to depict, except for a couple of female nudes. They are described as being modern art.

Barret's physical description: He has a full beard, wears glasses and has long hair. They said his voice was recognizable, he wasn't really tall, and spoke quietly. To add, he also smiled after a couple of drinks.

He certainly seems to be happy and content in his field, a delight to all Barret fans. Let's continue to simply record the basis of his legend, and make it live on, as the other Barret sites have done.


Anonymous said...

Hi, maybe an actual photo of Barret?

Anonymous said...

i wish barret never left the movie industry and continued his career in acting. i miss seeing him on the big screen.

Anonymous said...

to the first commentator about the URL which you linked. I think that isn't Barret. Look at his nose, verry verry different. And his hair? I think Barret's hair hasn't curly like that.

(i hope my english can be read :D)

Mark Cini said...

Honestly, as concerns his looks today none of that matters to me! What counts is what he did for all of us, by being the great child actor he was. I would look at him him no differently today because to me he is timeless!

Anonymous said...

I went to school with the dude and that IS a photograph of him.

Anonymous said...

to the last comment:
You knew Barret Oliver???

Anonymous said...

Found this:

'Barret Oliver is a photographer, printer and historian of photographic technology. His book A History of the Woodburytype is the only scholarly analysis of this important printing process and the beginnings of the photomechanical industry. The historian and Professor Emeritus Princeton University, Peter Bunnell, noted that the book "broadens understanding of how photography became a truly modern medium of mass cultural import."

In addition to making prints for artists, Oliver has been working with the Getty Conservation Institute, cataloging nineteenth century printing process through re-construction and scientific analysis. This effort has lead to the first ever documentation of many obscure, yet important developments in photographic technology.

For the past decade Oliver has been exploring the intersection of nineteenth century photography and contemporary thought. Combining a conceptual foundation with a vast repository of nineteenth century processes, his photographic constructions dissect and re-configure the photographic object in an attempt to develop new ways of understanding the world.

The collaboration between Oliver and Aldrich began in 2007 as a result of their friendship and shared interest in both how the history of images is understood by the contemporary eye and how the fragmentary nature of photographs affects the way we see.'

Melissa said...

The story of what really happened to Barret Oliver is a very bitter pill to swallow, but I think it needs to be told. As many of you have suspected, it is yet another worrying account of the corrosiveness of Scientology.

Barret left acting at age 16 to join Scientology's infamous Sea Org and soon thereafter began taking courses on topics such as “New Era Dianetics” and how to handle “suppressive persons” (i.e. people skeptical of Scientology). Hardcore true believer stuff. In the last 20 years he has spent a considerable amount of time at the organization's "Gold Base" desert compound. Discussions on ex-scientologist message boards suggest Barret has either helped run its gulag-like Rehabilitation Project Force or has been disciplined by it.

Barret’s late 80s/early 90s trajectory in Scientology is not unlike church head David Miscavige’s, who also left school at 16 to devote himself full-time to the cause. One wonders if Barret was being groomed for church leadership. If so, I assume that he never reached the top ranks since the Scientology elite invariably look like corporate stock photographs and not the John Travolta character in "Battlefield Earth".

And so I want to be perfectly clear on this: Scientology is something Barret fell into during the late 80s because of a turbulent adolescence. It is probably all he has ever known. As early as 1976 his father was taking "ministry" courses in order to learn how to perform audits using an E-meter, and he now lives in Clearwater, Florida--aka Scientologytown, USA. If you look Barret’s mother up on Facebook you'll find that the vast majority of her friends are Scientologists with considerable online data trails.

Like many of you Barret Oliver means a lot to me… something I realized only very recently when I saw him in a film at LACMA’s Tim Burton retrospective. I’m a life-long movie buff, and see now what a profound impact his films had on the 8 - 10 year old me and my later interests. Barret had an intelligence and intensity that is rarely seen in young actors (Saoirse Ronan comes to mind). It’s almost never there in American child stars. I'm convinced that had it not been for his family’s fanatical devotion to Scientology he could be an American mid-1970s Jean-Pierre LĂ©aud by now. Not that photography is anything to scoff at, but I can’t help feeling the world has missed out on something.

Melissa said...

Oops! Meant to say "Scientology is not something Barret fell into because of a turbulent adolescence!"

Anonymous said...

to the first commentator about the URL which you linked. I think that isn't Barret. Look at his nose, verry verry different. And his hair? I think Barret's hair hasn't curly like that.

(i hope my english can be read :D)

I agree with you, it's too strange that is Barret. I have Barry in my Facebook contacts and when I asked him if the man with the beard was him he answered me "?????". Probably is not him! And how can be him??? Sound me very strange!

Anonymous said...

Well, in this photo I can assure it's him!

Subliminal Artist said...

I don't know whether he went into Scientology but I can imagine that it could have been an easy refuge and a sanctuary from all the madness that comes with stardom in the US.
People (especially in the US) cannot seem to separate a person's private life from their performing life and consume a person's public time.

Initially when people ask if you are XYZ it's a bit like stroking your ego. But overtime it really interferes with your life and you get fed up with it. Yet you need to stay friendly, because these people admire your work and you do not want to come across as a jerk.

So I can fully imagine that he needed to do a disappearing act and we should respect his choice; I probably would've done the same in his case.

I am glad he has found something he likes and apparently does very well and the great things he left behind.

Anonymous said...

Here is an image of the back cover of Mr Oliver's book, which has a picture of the author:

Anonymous said...

Are we sure that the photography Barrett Oliver is THE Barrett Oliver? Could be someone else completely who simply has the same name.

Anonymous said...

Someone on another forum claimed to have read his book and apparently, he thanks his brother Kyle and parents in the Acknowledgements section.

Anonymous said...

Some additional footage of Mr Oliver, and an explanation of his artistic approach, can be viewed on the Huntington Library's Youtube channel:

Taxandria said...

The whole short In the Usual Manner shows Barret creating a photograph using the wet plate method:

You can hear him speak about the topic here:

I think he's kind of awesome (minus the Scientology part). He's an artist and even though he looks very old fashioned with the long hair and beard, I think how cool is it that he has photos of himself using that technology? How many of us will EVER be able to have one of those made?

Anonymous said...

Taxandria - agreed, he's still awesome (yes, minus the scientology part).

A Tumblr page devoted to him, if anyone is interested:

Melissa, (it's been two years - doubt you'll see this) where did you get all that scientology information about him?

Anonymous said...

Mr Oliver's contribution to understanding of the Woodburytype process is discussed briefly in this document on the Getty Conservation Institute website (on page 20):

'Important Variants of the Stannotype Process

In a twenty-five-copy special edition of his seminal book on the Woodburytype process (see bibliography below), Barret Oliver included an example of his modern variant of the Stannotype process using aluminum foil in place of tin foil (fig. 20). The microscopic and analytical signatures of this process are shown in figures 21–23. The presence of clearly visible pigment particle clusters is typical for all types of photographic processes using gelatin-pigment type “printing inks” or image materials (carbon, Woodburytype, Stannotype).

The XRF spectrum of Oliver’s modern Stannotype shows that the artist printed his image on a baryta-coated gelatin photographic paper (the presence of both barium and strontium) that was fixed to remove any silver halide particles (the absence of Ag K and Ag L spectral peaks). The ATR-FTIR spectrum of the modern Stannotype shows the presence of the gelatin signal at both the Dmax and Dmin areas of the image. This is because a gelatin-coated baryta paper substrate was used to make the print, making the identification of modern Stannotypes very challenging.'


Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is the photographic exhibit referred to in the original post? -

Also found this:

'The D.P. Henry Archive is greatly indebted to Barret Oliver, (Historian of Photographic Technology and author of A History of the Woodbury type, 2007, Carl Mautz Publishing/ Bardwell press), for drawing attention to Henry’s links with Cameraless Photography for the production of Photograms, or what Henry referred to as his ‘Photochemical Technique’ for producing ‘photochemical drawings’.'

Anonymous said...

A bit off-topic, but for those interested, here's a recent interview with Tami Stromach (the Child-like from "The NeverEnding story") on the Australian Morning Show:

Anonymous said...

Mr Oliver gave a presentation at East Carolina University on 21 April 2015:

Anonymous said...

I found this... Looks like the Scientology thing is true. Photo's of a wedding posted by a member of Scientology Sea Org, and Barret is the best man.

Anonymous said...

I found this as well. Scroll down and zoom in for a more clear pic of how he looks now.

Anonymous said...

Further data trails of Barret's involvement in Scientology:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

A new video of Barret Oliver demonstrating the Woodburytype process:

Anonymous said...

Long hair, thats an understatement. He has whats called beaver tail hair. You let your hair grow down your back, dont wash it for years, and dont brush it, let it get all matted into a big clump.