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Barry Mayo Reframed: From Radio Mogul to Photographer and Award Winning Filmmaker Chasing Light

Christine Passarella By

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After leaving New York and Kiss FM, Barry and Lee Simonson, his dear friend and radio executive, became close business partners. I recently had the pleasure of meeting Lee, and it was clear to me that the two men are more like brothers than friends. Together they had bought and sold radio stations, eventually leaving the world of radio ownership behind when they decided to sell their then public company which was doing extremely well financially. Barry Mayo walked the line as a gifted man with an artistic side and an entrepreneurial side. As his journey matured the next phase of his life appeared and the artistic passionate side of him brought him into the immersion of the world of photography.

Photography and Film

Barry Mayo's next chapter in life would open his heart and mind to a flourishing spiritual life serving humanity through his outstanding work in photography and film. Barry left the world of radio permanently and moved to his home in Upstate, New York full time. His home sits on ten acres of beautiful wooded land in the Hudson Valley of New York. "I feel closest to God when I am in nature," Barry told me, "That is why I separated myself and live in the woods. There is a constant journey of enlightenment... I have been living here for ten years. I am not the same person or photographer since I came here."

Barry Mayo is a light chaser. He has evolved into a great professional photographer capturing images of life in the decisive moment. One of his influences is the legendary street photographer Henri Cartier Bresson whose work informed and inspired Barry's artful life. Barry recommended Bresson's excellent book The Decisive Moment to me. The beautiful book filled with magnificent images of life helped me understand this genre of photography, and is part of the world that now fuels Barry's creative process. "The decisive moment speaks about capturing that split second, and it tells a story...it communicates in a way most people can understand... Capturing these moments are totally instinctual, and you almost can't think," he shared with me. Barry takes pictures of everyday things from his unique artistic lens. You can view some of Barry's outstanding photography on his site at barrymayophotographs.com and his Instagram page. His beautiful and compelling photography helps frame the meaning of life through which he shares his heart and soul.

"I shoot for myself. It is all about light from a physics standpoint...In the digital world, it is light hitting a sensor in bits and bites....I am chasing light physically, spiritually and metaphorically. The way it hits me is about growth," Barry explained. "As a photographer, I get satisfaction for myself, but I can share this growth with others on my website and on Instagram. I am a seeker... My eyes always open to other ways to look at the light....On a spiritual level, my work which has now morphed into film, is about seeking and sharing more light in terms of bringing the races together."

Questions about race issues became part of his reframed life in his maiden voyage creating the award-winning documentary short, Maya Osborne: Confessions of a Quadroon. Barry has an interest in examining the lives of the offspring of people who were in interracial unions. He was raised at a time when there were still laws on the books in the United States which made it illegal for a black person and white person to be married.

Giving a platform to people who are mixed race, and are both black and white is important to Barry. In his award-winning documentary, it is stunning when we discover that Maya Osborne's white father is unaware his twenty-year-old daughter does not identify as white. The artist is a gifted spoken word poet with a black mother and white father. I highly recommend that you get a hold of this documentary. Maya Osborne: Confessions of a Quadroon originally opened at Heidi Durrow's Remix/Mix Conference in 2015 and has shown in 11 film festivals all over the country, winning two awards. In his desire to seek light, Barry wants to help broaden our horizons and shrink the spaces between people. In the language of John Coltrane, he is truly a force for good.

Family Man

As I have come to know Barry through our deep conversations, it is clear to me that he is a family man and a loyal friend to those who are blessed to be in his vortex. His daily life includes meditation and a close connection to family. Recently becoming a grandfather has brought him boundless joy. His son Alex is father to baby Marley and watching him become a father is profoundly wonderful to him. Barry is also the proud father of Barry A. Mayo II, and Alana Aisha Mayo his only daughter. Alana has distinguished herself in the film industry and focused on socially impactful work. She is the President of Production and Development for actor Michael B. Jordan's Outlier Society Productions, and engaged to Grammy Award-winning writer and acclaimed actress Lena Waithe.

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