Claude Drey was born on November 13th 1919, in Frankfurt Germany into an upper middle class German Jewish Family. The family was well rooted in the German-Jewish community, but was forced in 1933 to flee Frankfurt in the middle of the night when Claude's father Arthur feared he would be denounced for his anti-Nazi activities.
Claude’s family re-settled in Milan Italy for six years. His teenage years were difficult, and by all accounts he was not an exemplary student. His father was very stern and there were lots of battles. When Mussolini came into power the family again felt their safety threatened. In 1939, while visiting Switzerland, they decided to not return to Italy, and immigrated to New York City. Their possessions were packed up by others, and they never returned to their Milan home.
During his first years in New York, Claude dedicated his time to studying English and engineering. He attended City College at night, and worked in the family’s water cooler rental business by day. He also began a lifetime pursuit of analytical psychology. Claude worked with analysts under the school of Carl Jung. Years later he would travel to Switzerland annually to study with Jung’s disciples, and record their recollections of Jung and interpretation of Jung’s work. Claude Drey’s conversations were posthumously published in a book: Lectures on Jung’s Aion.
Claude’s interest in photograph began in the 1950’s. As with so many other pursuits he was determined to bring it to a professional level. He studied under several photographers and was influenced by Edward Weston. Most of his work was in black and white; he did all of his own development. Claude was successful in having his work exhibited in several gallery shows including a one-man exhibit at the Image Gallery. His works was sold to publishers for use in advertising and appeared in several books.
Most of Claude’s photography focused on nature. He took many pictures of animals, plants and flowers. He traveled to California and did a series on Point Lobus. Claude’s family and friends were models – especially his young wife Grace. His photography related in many ways to his psychological studies and particularly in his pictures of people, he tried to capture a part of their spirit.
A more unusual series of photographs Claude created was on car “graveyards” and on a slaughterhouse. For some the pictures of the animals being killed and butchered may be disturbing.
Photography was put on a back burner for a long time as he continued to pursue many other interests. Oddly during the year before his death on November 7, 1989, he renewed his interest and began renting dark room space so that he could again develop his own pictures.
We hope his images bring you joy.