PERRY, Okla. (KFOR) – Barney Enright wasn’t very fond of taking self portraits with his camera.
One of the only existing photographs shows he and his young wife Sylvia.
But when it came to turning his lens to other subjects, historians like Diana Simon say there were few better or more prolific than Enright.
“There must be hundreds, even thousands of prints out there,” queries a museum visitor.
“I’ve looked at a lot of them,” she smiles.
Simon is site manager at the Cherokee Strip Museum in Perry.
Enright’s old studio, first opened in 1912, is only a telephoto lens shot away.
Since his earliest days growing up in Lahoma, Enright displayed humor and creativity in making postcards of farm life.
“He was 21 when he came to Perry,” says Simon. “We know his photography was very well known.”
In April of 1912, a tornado hit Noble County and Barney turned “news man,” taking some of the only pictures of the damage that storm caused.
Simon argues, “If he hadn’t taken those pictures we would have no record of that event.”
He was Pawnee Bill’s first choice as photographer at his ‘Old Town’ tourist attraction and on his ranch.
He shot farm life and parades.
Lots of people sat for portraits in the same chair on display with other artifacts at the museum.
“I think his personality and the quality of his photographs stood out,” she continues.
His photographs and some of the older, historical pictures he saved for posterity spill over into the permanent exhibits here as well.
Barney and Sylvia, who was 28 years his junior, both took pictures all over this part of the state for more than 40 years.
Their catalog of photos tell the story of their town and Noble County.
His style is still something you can identify at a glance more than a century later.
The exhibit, “Barbey Enright: Photographer,” is on display through the summer at the Cherokee Strip Museum and Rose Hill School in Perry.
To see more of his photos, go to the Cherokee Strip Museum website.