Robin Perry – Photographer & Author (1917–2005)

I first came across his name around 1974 – from some newsletters [pictures pending] that I received from Dexter Press – a company that specialized in Color PostCards.

Here’s a forum discussion about the original Dexter Press. RReardon’s post on Sep-08-2013 mentions his grandfather, Thomas A. Dexter, founded and ran Dexter Press.

Robin wrote numerous articles about technique and the business side of photography – inside these newsletters.

If you search for Dexter Press now – this is in their About page > For over 40 years MWM Dexter has provided church supply products for the Christian community.


Robin Perry – photography, freelance writer and author.

This page is devoted to his memory…


I have the following two books – written by Robin Perry…

Book: Creative Color - Photography of Robin Perry.

Book: Photography for the Professionals - by Robin Perry.


In 1978, he was flown in by PPOC – Professional Photographers of Canada, to be a guest speaker – at an event held in the main ballroom at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary.

It didn’t take too long for me to realize, while listening to his presentation – that I had found my main mentor. After his riveting talk, I worked up the courage to try and chat with him, before he left – back to Connecticut.

There were 3 of us from the audience – who did manage to join him, for some late evening food and lively conversation.


In the fall of 1979, I attended his week-long creative workshop [pictures pending] held at his studio in Waterford, Connecticut.

Map: USA Connecticut

I remember coming back to Calgary and telling everyone, that my head was so swollen with knowledge – that I had a hard time going thru doorways…

Around 1985, he built a new house [picture pending] in Indialantic (Brevard County) – Florida and moved his studio operation there.

In the summer of 1989, we dropped in to see him [pictures pending]. I was taking my 2 sons for a road trip in my Chevy van – from Calgary to Key West in Florida.

City of Indialantic located in Brevard County, Florida.


Robin Livingston Perry passed away at age 87. I found this obituary at the → Florida Today newspaper website:

Robin L Perry, died at home in Indialantic, FL on Wednesday, June 22, 2005. He was the son of Natalie Forbes Perry and Clinton McKesson Perry and the grandson of Alexander Forbers.

He was a veteran of the Army and the Navy, a POW who escaped early in World War II, and the recipient of a Purple Heart. He was an avid aviator and flew his Cessna until his last day. Mr Perry was a renowned photographer with a studio in Connecticut and was the author of nine books and hundreds of articles on flying and photography.

A Memorial Service will be held in the Brownlie Maxwell Chapel, at 2 p.m., Thursday, June 30th.


Robin Perry sitting on a motorcycle.

› Here’s an article from The Day newspaper, dated Mar-31-1975. I found this story by searching at Google News Archive.


Made by Dexter Press of West Nyack NY
Published by Perry Studios of Waterford Ct

› Marco wrote a memorium at his website → Marco Zecchin Photographic Art.

› A few comments were posted in a RangeFinderForum.com → thread.

› Robin Perry wrote an article about ‘Cameras’ in the NY Times → Arts section, published March 8th 1981.


› The following was found in this document, on page 3National_Press_Club,Vol56,No28.pdf

Robin Perry Bequest To Go for Centennial

The late Robin Livingston Perry, a commercial photographer and prolific author, has bequeathed $20,158 to the Club. The Board voted last month to use the money to create a new fund to finance the celebration of the Club’s upcoming centennial.

Perry, who died in June 2005, in Indialantic, Fla., belonged to the Club from January 1977 to March 1995.

Perry’s bequest is an exciting start for the Centennial fund, said Club Treasurer Donna Leinwand.

To contribute, contact General Manager John Bloom at (202) 662-7534.


Note as of Jan-2017 > the eastmanhouse.org website is now called eastman.org. And their Annual Reports go back 10 years – now starting at 2007.

› The following was once found in this document → https://www.eastmanhouse.org/media/annual-reports/2005.insert.pdf

On page 7, there’s a heading labelled “Photograph Collection”. Then on page 8, in the top left corner – the following is shown:

From Estate of Robin L Perry

Approximately 8,000 prints, negatives, and

transparencies of commercial studiowork,

1960–1979, by Robin L Perry (1917–2005)


June-2019 Pending:

The bulk of the above material was copied from my previous website design. I still have to transfer about 18 comments.

There are about a dozen items waiting to to photographed and maybe 30 slides to be scanned. I’ll try to work on these as time permits.

Also have a few recorded telephone conversations – sitting on cassettes. It will be good to hear his voice again…!

27 comments

  1. Robin was my mother’s 1st cousin and I spoke with him for the first time about 20 years ago. His parents divorced when he was about three and he went to live with his maternal grandparents Arthur Henry Holland Forbes and Jessica Livingston Wetmrore. Forbes was a publisher of an architectural magazine and held pilot’s license #1 in Connecticut for both balloons and aeroplanes. His paternal grandparents were William Sumner Perry and Ida Lefferts McKesson of Staten Island.

  2. Hi Ken,

    Late one night, last week, I happened to look at one of my pictures which was shot by none other than Robin Perry, who just happened to be a friend of the family, but also my first headshot photographer in 1977. When I graduated from college in 1976, I returned to New London, CT where I bumped into, & re-established my friendship with Robin. He had me up to his studio many times, & one day I stopped by, just to say hi, when he asked me to sit on a stool in front of a camera. He proceeded to install a newly received adaptor from Polaroid, to aid photographers in the shooting of headshots. This adaptor would allow instant 8 x 10 headshots to be available instantly but in a 8 x 10 format, & I was lucky enough to be his model for that process. It also gave him some ideas on how to utilize this new device in his field work. I should explain that I had known Robin since I was very little as he & my father were close friends & had actually shot my parents wedding album. He also took my first headshot which turned out to be a 30+ year print modelling career. When I saw all the documentation that you collected, I felt I needed to check in with some personal info that would not be found in the mainstream. Just wanted to let you know that there was someone else out there who knew Robin & whose print career was really statted by Robin.

    Please feel free to check in if you like & we can chat about him in more detail. He was definitely one of the favorite people in my life.

    Best Regards,

    Glenn Linder

    860-442-2545
    212-962-6239

  3. I drove to CT from Columbus, Ohio to take his workshop in the 70’s. I loved New London and he was a cool guy. His thing was sandwiched 35mm transparencies. BTW: I made friends with a couple of Canadians there and we drove to NYC to see the Ansel Adams show at MOMA. It wasn’t you by any chance?

    joel Sampson in Dallas
    http://www.joelsampson.com

    1. Hi Joel,

      Thanks for the message. No – it wasn’t me. After the workshop, I took the train back to New York to catch my flight back to Calgary. I’ve forgotten most of the names of the people that were in my group. But I have pictures of everyone… 🙂

      It’s hard to find the time – would love to take a week off and get those images scanned and put online. Besides my day job, I have lots of stock footage that I’m trying to get ready for release.

      Stay in touch… kc

  4. Not sure why, but Robin Perry popped into my mind last evening. I met Robin when I was a young photography student at the Rhode Island School of Photography and living in New London, CT. Just decided I needed to assist a working photographer and Robin was nearby in Waterford. Robin opened his studio to me and we established a friendship that was instrumental in my budding photography career. I brought a group of students from my school and introduced them to Robin. Our work at school immediately changed with the words and ideas that Robin brought to the day-long seminar. His book sales soared as well! One of the things that Robin taught me and served me well in my 20 plus year career in photography was that there never was a time for not being the best you can be. Never get complacent, never think you know everything, and keep exploring. Seems like a recipe used for Robin’s life. Though I never saw him after leaving Connecticut, somehow Robin was always with me. And true to Robin’s penchant for teaching, he taught me how to write a check properly – the way I have taught all of my children and will teach my two young granddaughters. Attention to detail. Thank you Robin Perry.

  5. Last weekend I purchase “Creative Color” at our local used book store, and was curious as to who is Robin Perry; so I made a research on the WEB, and found your page with all this very interesting material. Thanks for sharing your passion for this man and photographer, he must have been a very good mentor for you. Your story reminded me of a workshop (a week long) I took with Freeman Patterson (Canadian photographer and author of several very good photo books); the experience of spending a week long with a Master, is something every artist, photographer should do at least once in a life time. Thanks again Ken for keeping Robin Perry”s memory alive. Now when I’ll read his book, I’ll think of you and your art experience with Robin Perry. Cheers.

  6. Hi Ken;

    Nice to read a bit more about your creative “Genesis” … I guess that makes it part of my own creative bump that I got from you 🙂

  7. Would like to know more about Robin Perry. A good friend of his just offered me a custom built camera and custom lenses he inherited from Mr. Perry on his death in 2005.

      1. Hi Ken,

        I just came across this web site and appreciate what was written about Robin Perry. He was a good friend of mine and I helped him write a couple of his books, “Welcome for a Hero and The Road Rider”. I am referenced in his acknowledgement in the Road Rider. I worked for Robin at his studio in Waterford, Ct and stayed in touch with him up until his death in 2005. Robin was a great friend and mentor to me. I will always miss him.
        Sally Rice Doherty

  8. Thank you for posting these memories and associated information. I knew Robin only for a relatively short time when he and I flew together in the early 1990s. He was a fantastic story teller with an eye for the exceptionally beautiful.

    Thank you for keeping his memory alive.

  9. My mother, Therese Carey, was a model and close friend of Robin’s. He won an award for a group of photos he took of her, a study in the use of shadow. I have all of those photos, the originals.Robin became a close friend and often took my brothers and I flying on his plane from the Waterford land strip. I have photos to document all of this.Later, as a teenager I thought I may peruse a career in modeling. Robin agreed to photograph me as a favor, a man of few words, at the end of the session, told me I was too fat faced for photography. “you still have your baby fat” he said. Of course I trusted his opinion so that I chose another path. I will always treasure the time with Robin and those photos of my mother.

    Renee Jones

  10. And I have a signed copy of his book “Welcome for a Hero”. He wrote a very nice note on the flyleaf for me. Wow, those were the days for sure. He was quite the character!

  11. On a lark, I did a search on Robin today because I was one of his models back in the late 60′s/very early 70′s. I spent many a weekend at this studio in Waterford and I know he took many many photos of me. I visited him once during one of my return trips to Connecticut after I moved to Florida (back in 1971). In fact, I ended up in the Annual Photography magazine 1971 edition – 2 submissions. And, many years ago, a copy of one of my Robin Perry photos was used as part of mass advertising in the Woolco stores but according to Robin, I signed a release so there was nothing to be done about that. I wish I had known Robin had moved to Florida because I would have visited him for sure. He told me that his collection of photos was going to be donated to a museum, I don’t recall which one, and that several of my photos were part of that collection. I always wondered. I still have every one of the copies of my photos that Robin gave me even though it’s been many years. And my portfolio too.

    He was a big part of my life for a year or two there. Just wanted to drop you a note and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or anything.

    Barbara Monahan (who may have been modeling under the name of Barbara Joseph at the time).

  12. I had some brief lessons with Robin when I was in photography school. I showed up unannounced at his studio one day and I thought he would send me off. Instead he invited me in and we spent the morning together; him inspiring creativity that I knew not existed. While I only had a few sessions with him I knew he was photographically creative and technical genius. He would have never needed photoshop but would have loved the tool.

  13. Hi all,I am hoping someone here may be able to help me track down some photos Robin took around 1977-1979. He photographed my wife as a young girl, around 8 or 9 years old along with an older woman(posing as her mother) in a rose garden. My wife believes the images were used for a Mother’s Day card. I would love to find a copy. If anyone could point me in the right direction, I would greatly appreciate it! Thank you!

  14. I knew Robin all my life. My mother was his house cleaner and I helped him in the studio and dark rooms. He was a great friend to our family and a really amazing person. It’s great fun to read about him here. I miss him dearly.

  15. I occupied many hours at Robin’s Waterford, CT home and studio. He was a magnificently, complex person who always spoke his mind. He had no limits in the creativity arena; he could create a work of art from a simple nut, a bolt … a weed growing out of a rotted, wooden fence post. I taught photography for many years. My text book was what he so often preached — isolation of ANY subject … shadows, a simple smile on the face of a newborn child, patterns and balance. He taught me to look beyond the obvious.

    He is sorely missed.

  16. Robin Livingston Perry was an icon in the world of photography. I occupied endless hours with him while living, teaching and studying with him in Connecticut. God rest your soul, master.

  17. Eric – thanks for adding this note about meeting Robin.

    He gave me a signed copy of an aluminum dual-dial flight calculator that he patented. It’s on my big list of stuff to get photographed…

    Stay in touch. kc

  18. I met Robin when I was working at a hardware store in Florida near Indiatlantic. He would come in dressed in white shirt, string tie and beret, looking for this or that for one of his projects. We found we had common interests in photography, flying and trials motorcycles; I even had one of his photography books at home which he autographed for me. I flew with him several times and visited him at his home, where he was working to get up to speed with digital photography. He told me he had been adopted into a wealthy family who were involved in airplane manufacturing. He said Orville Wright was a visitor at their home, and I believe Glenn Curtiss even babysat him a few times. Robin was cut out of the family once he was of legal age, for reasons I don’t remember. I do remember the look in his eye as he recounted photographing the Black Velvet Girls for the whiskey ad campaign. “Like a kid in a candy store…” he said. That also might have had something to do with the fact he said he was married 5 times. I wish I had kept in touch with him through his last years. He was truly a unique, warm and fascinating man.

  19. I did a search for Robin Perry and here I came! I bought his book many years ago and it made an impression on me and I wondered what became of him. I had no idea he once came to Calgary.

    Thanks Ken!

    workabove.com

  20. I had the opportunity to study under Robin while station on submarines at the submarine base in New London, Connecticut back in the late 60s and early 70s. We often went out to lunch and dinner and hit a local motel bar. On several of our photographic trips into the local woods, Robin would carry a hardboiled egg with us. He would then place the egg in strategic locations and have me photograph it. This way, I learned about light, shadow, and how to make an uninteresting subject look interesting. He was a flamboyant character and we must have looked quite the couple, a young Black guy with an old bald-headed White man. One of the things he told me was don’t get caught up in photographing pretty girls, until I had mastered my photography.

    snakesafe.jalbum.net/

  21. My husband was dedicated photographer (following being TWA captain career) and in ’80 we traveled across country in RV from L.A., for him to study w/Robin Perry for advancing to commercial photography. Robin not only terrific instructor and helped our objectives tremendously, but also became a personal friend, especially when my husband insisted on attending classes w/thrombosis in his leg against Perry’s advice, but he completed course! Over all Perry certainly complicated but interesting man. Glad got to know him as a friend, not sure many people did… and admire his innovations in commercial photography, even more so wish him R.I.P.

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