Brinsley Burbidge

Goofing Around with Lighting Photographer Brinsley Burbidge lives in Stamford (Lincolnshire, England) having just recently relocated there after a twenty year stay the United States.  He has been a photographer for as long as he can remember and attained the Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in his 20s.

Brinsley received a PhD in Botany from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland in 1970 and pursued a career in the Botanic Garden world including photographing a book on Scotland’s gardens. During this time he embraced the newly introduced Cibachrome printing system and won Britain’s first prize for printing excellence using the medium. Later he managed the Media Resources Department (photography and printing) at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in London England and chaired the Nature Distinctions Panel for the Royal Photographic Society.  In 1996 he moved to Florida to direct the Fairchild Tropical Garden and later continued his botanic garden work as Director of Denver Botanic Garden.  In 2003 he and Julie moved to the US Virgin Islands where, among other things they designed and managed the gardens on a private island. 

In 2008 they moved to Cottage Grove where they have concentrated all their energies on making paintings and photographs.    The photographs from "Dorena Lake" come from a project Julie and Brinsley have been working on for the past eight months. Every morning they have walked the shores of Dorena Lake near Cottage Grove at first light. They walk around 40 miles every week and record the variable clouds, fog, mud, rain, ice and reflections of dawn at the lake.  Brinsley’s photographs and Julie’s painting are based on this deep familiarity with a single location at the southern end of the Willamette Valley.

More from Brinsley....

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved being outdoors and since my childhood I’ve been making photographs.  I managed to plot a career which allowed me to pursue both interests as a profession, but usually working for someone else.  In the last five years we have lived in Oregon and, while Julie has developed her profession as an artist,  I’ve gradually moved the profession to the margin until outdoors and photography occupy my whole life and I only have one person to work for - myself.  

This narrower focus has allowed me to concentrate on making photographic prints and develop a conviction that has been at the heart of all my photography - That you can make an interesting photograph of any subject, however unpromising, provided that you devote enough time to it.   It’s all about how you see your subject.  Three years ago Julie and I were taking one of our long, often wet, daily walks near the city of Cottage Grove.  It was a typically foggy winter morning and the clouds were partly obscuring the view in a remarkable way.  Julie said “why don’t you photograph fog?”   Fog has now become a unifying feature of the current series of photographs, the other being the mud of the partly drained Dorena Lake.  To this we added the devotion of a lot of time and the precision of daily dawn walks in the same location whatever the weather.   On average we have had to walk at least 100 miles for each photograph worth trying as a print.  Ones worth hanging on a wall are much less frequent.  One good one a year still feels like an achievement.