Disclaimer: my friend, Bruce Heinemann, sent me a copy of his new book, which I feel is well worth recommending. I have absolutely no financial interest in the book.
Photography, among all of its noble characteristics is perhaps first, and foremost about relationships… between ideas, themes, colors, shapes, textures, metaphors. ~Bruce Heinemann
Although neither of us knew it at the time, Bruce and I found each other at a critical point for me, and was instrumental in my decision to become a full-time photographer and writer. Years ago, when I still had a corporate job, I had to attend some business-related training. As you can imagine, it was hardly an inspirational experience, at least until my first break, when I entered the break area at the training facility. There, on a small table, were a few tattered coffee-table books and magazines for use by anyone who needed respite from whatever class they were attending. Among these books, was Bruce’s book, The Art of Nature. I spent the rest of the training session waiting eagerly for breaks, when I could head for the break room and page through it.
The images in Bruce’s book touched me profoundly, for a reason I will explain in a bit. While still working through the training class, I decided to contact him to express my gratitude. If I recall, the subject of that email was something along the lines of, “inspiration in unlikely places.” To my delight, Bruce not only responded, but was gracious and friendly, and I was impressed by his kind and gentle manner, and by his obvious love for photography and for his home state of Washington, where the majority of his work was created. And so, we began a correspondence that lasted ever since, and I can say that just about every exchange I have ever had with Bruce left me feeling cheered and inspired by his calm and thoughtful manner. Not just a maker of beautiful photographs, Bruce is also a beautiful soul.
The reason I found Bruce’s work so compelling is that it radiated a sense of peace, no matter the subject or lighting conditions. I was accustomed to other kinds of coffee-table books, rich in impressive eye-popping scenics. I have rarely seen such collections of quiet and thoughtful work as I have in Bruce’s books—exactly what I needed at a time when life’s challenges were bearing down. What I found even more impressive, is Bruce’s ability to produce such quiet and engaging work in any light—from sunny days with clear blue skies, to complex patterns in trees and vegetation on overcast days or in the depths of the coastal rainforest.
Bruce’s new book: Washington / The art of the Landscape continues the same theme, this time with writings and musings by Bruce, himself. As you flip through the first pages, you will find those sunny-day scenes that are easily relatable to anyone and inspire a sense of inner joy. Then, as you flip through page after page, if you are a photographer of some experience, you will be impressed by Bruce’s ability to distill the proverbial “order out of chaos,” in complex and very satisfying intimate compositions.
Not to belabor my praise, I’ll let Bruce’s work speak for itself (see gallery at the bottom of this page). This is a hardcover coffee-table in the tradition of the old Sierra Club format, each photograph, presented with dignity, with wide margins, making it easy to contemplate and appreciate. A worthy addition to any collector of fine photography books.
Samples from the book: