3 years Ago
For a walk-through of notable works in his private collection.
By day, Trevor Traina runs IfOnly. Off duty, he is one of San Francisco’s pre-eminent collectors of modern photography. His not-so-secret alter ego is revealed when you visit the office, which is a veritable gallery with wall-to-wall pieces of genre-defining works. There's Ann Collier in the lobby; Tina Barney in accounting, and Nan Goldin in Trevor's office.
A self-proclaimed “art omnivore,” the tech entrepreneur dallied in 19th century American art before becoming fascinated by modern photography. What pulls him in is the medium's storytelling; there's a beginning, middle, and sometimes shocking denouement, captured in one moment. Truly smitten, “If I couldn't afford the photographs, I'd buy the posters,” says Trevor, “and if I couldn't afford those, I'd have the postcards.”
Trevor has acquired over 300 photographs, and his collection is growing. In 2012, the deYoung organized “Real to Real,” an exhibit of 100 of his works, serving as a cross-section of modern photography. If you missed it, he is offering tours of his private collection on IfOnly. Here’s a glimpse of what you might see in situ at his home in Pacific Heights.
Diane Arbus’ Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967
“The greatest photo of the 20th century,” in Trevor’s opinion. “Twins are copies of the same negative in a sense, and this photo is so great on so many levels.” While some might see a ghostly black-and-white portrait, he “finds them cheery, sweet little girls — charming and fun and witty."
Lee Friedlander’s New York City
Many photos from Trevor’s collection, like this one, highlight his interest in fashion as costume and the theatricality of the everyday while unexpectedly depicted in a gritty documentarian style.
Andreas Gursky’s Dortmund
Fascinated by the technical virtuosity of German photographer Andreas Gursky, who pioneered large scale digital printmaking, Trevor had to have this one. The scale of this image is conveyed in the thousands of individual faces of soccer fans.
William Eggleston’s The Red Ceiling
One of the cornerstones of his collection, this all-over monochromatic photo was displayed at MOMA in a breakthrough exhibit on color photography in 1976. “While there were other great photos in the show, color—the rich red—is essential to this one," explains Trevor, "and without it, the photo would lose all impact.” Rock fans might also recognize the photo as the album cover of ‘70s band Big Star.
Tina Barney’s The Landscape
This large-scale photograph by American photographer Tina Barney hangs in IfOnly’s office. It is a tableau of a seemingly ordinary family gathering until you see the watchful side glance of the central woman. What could she be up to? It makes an intriguing ice breaker, as we often ask our visitors to interpret her look.
Thomas Struth’s Yosemite
The majesty of wide open spaces and the freedom of the road trip are recurring themes of Trevor’s collection. “As a California native, I love to see Yosemite so represented.”
Interested in seeing more of Trevor's collection? Purchase the tour here with a portion of sales benefiting Tipping Point whose mission is to fight poverty and empower families in San Francisco.