Issue #232  6/7/2017
Former ICP Curator Miles Barth Passes Away

By Alex Novak

Miles Barth
Miles Barth

Miles Barth, a long-time figure in photography, passed away on April 24th due to esophagus cancer. He was only 65. He was one of the first to work at the International Center of Photography in New York City, joining the ICP in 1979 as the Associate Director of Exhibitions.

Together with Cornell Capa, founder of the ICP, he established the Department of Archives and Permanent Collections and built it into a collection of nearly 45,000 prints until his departure in 1998.

Barth was previously curator of photography at New York's Rubin Museum of Art and director of publications at the Cygnet Foundation in New York. He wrote and edited numerous publications on photography including "Weegee’s World" (1997), also an exhibition he had curated at the ICP. He also worked on "Four Decades of Photojournalism" by Irving Haberman and Edward Kelty's "Step Right This Way", Kelty's book of circus images. He curated "Rising Dragon: Contemporary Chinese Photography" at the Katonah Museum of Art. He even wrote about photography in Vanity Fair. Later he worked as a photography specialist at Artnet.

I got to know him over the years, and he even pitched in and helped me out with my booth at Classic Photographs Los Angeles one year. He was a funny, knowledgeable guy, who will be missed by his many friends and colleagues.

As Keith de Lellis wrote me, "So sorry to hear the sad news. Miles was an intelligent and engaging presence in the field for so many years that it's hard to believe that he's gone at such a young age. He was a curator at ICP in its early years and a highly regarded expert in many areas of photography. Very shocking to hear this unexpected news."

Novak has over 45 years experience in the photography-collecting arena. He is a long-time member and formally board member of the Daguerreian Society, and, when it was still functioning, he was a member of the American Photographic Historical Society (APHS). He organized the 2016 19th-century Photography Show and Conference for the Daguerreian Society. He is also a long-time member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers. Novak has been a member of the board of the nonprofit Photo Review, which publishes both the Photo Review and the Photograph Collector, and is currently on the Photo Review's advisory board. He was a founding member of the Getty Museum Photography Council. He is author of French 19th-Century Master Photographers: Life into Art.

Novak has had photography articles and columns published in several newspapers, the American Photographic Historical Society newsletter, the Photograph Collector and the Daguerreian Society newsletter. He writes and publishes the E-Photo Newsletter, the largest circulation newsletter in the field. Novak is also president and owner of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, a private photography dealer, which sells by appointment and at exhibit shows, such as AIPAD New York and Miami, Art Chicago, Classic Photography LA, Photo LA, Paris Photo, The 19th-century Photography Show, etc.