Former mayor exhibits photos he snapped while in office

Even while he was mayor, Richard Berkley didn’t give up his lifelong hobby of photography. An exhibit of his photographs has been on display, featuring shots of Angelica Houston, Omar Sharif, Jay Leno and many other famous people he met.

Richard Berkley was mayor from 1979 to 1991 – longer than any mayor in Kansas City history – and he took pictures all that time, as well as before it and since.

Richard and Sandy Berkley and dog Buster in a recent photo.

Today is the last day to see many of them on display from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Buttonwood Art Space, 3013 Main St.

The 199 photographs include shots of Berkley and sometimes his wife, Sandy, with famous people. But many are pictures he took himself of politicians, leaders, sport stars, celebrities and more.

He has traveled to more than 70 countries and the camera was there to record a friendly lion, landscapes and much else.

Berkley, 81, said he started taking pictures as a child, continued while in the Navy in Iceland and was snapping away while he was mayor.

Former Lenexa Mayor Rich Becker encouraged him to take more and send them to people, and Berkley did and still does.

Some of the framed photographic prints at the display are on sale, with 20 percent of the proceeds donated to Harvesters, Wayside Waifs or the Wounded Warriors project.

As for future plans, the man who has a riverfront park named after him says he would like to have another photography show.

Among the photos on this wall is a picture of the former mayor with Sally Rand, a famous stripper at the Folly Theater who once worked at Tension Envelope, the Berkley family business.

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