Telephone or Fax: (360) 691-4105
P.O. BOX 1791
Granite Falls, WA 98252
About Bruce Barnbaum
Bruce Barnbaum of Granite Falls, WA entered photography as a hobbyist in the 1960s. After nearly 50 years, it is still his hobby; it has also been his life’s work since 1970. He has taught workshops since 1972.
Bruce's educational background includes Bachelor's and Master's degrees in mathematics from UCLA in 1965 and 1967. After working for several years as a mathematical analyst and computer programmer for missile guidance systems, he abruptly left the field and turned to photography in late 1970.
His photography expands upon the dynamics he finds in both nature and the works of man, relating forces to the sweeping forms that dominate his vivid imagery. Visually he emphasizes the best of humanity and nature, sometimes with bold realism, often with degrees of abstraction to heighten the mystery. He understands light to an extent rarely found, and combines this understanding with a mastery of composition, applying them to an extraordinarily wide range of subject matter. His photographs often contain ambiguities concerning either the size of the scene photographed and/or its orientation, forcing the viewer to pause and think, and to become part of the creative process.
Bruce is also recognized as one of the finest black and white traditional darkroom printers on this planet. His color work, now all-digitally created, attests to his ability to see equally well in color or black and white, and to work digitally or traditionally to obtain the finest results. His work is represented by galleries in the United States and Europe, and is in the collections of museums and private collectors worldwide.
During his career, Bruce has produced six photography books, four of which are exclusively art books, while the other two are educational and art books combined. In order of publication, they are:
Visual Symphony, his classic book in four movements, was published in 1986 by Alfred van der Marck Editions. A second edition was published in 1988, along with a German Language version of the book, published by Edition Braus. The book is now sold out and out of print, but may be available via Amazon.com. For detailed information about Visual Symphony, or all the other books below, please go to the “Books” page on this website. (You can obtain a personally signed copy of any of the books below from Bruce, directly.)
Tone Poems - Book 1, a 12” x 12” hard cover book with 90 black and white images combining Bruce’s photography with music on a magnificent CD in a uniquely insightful collaboration with Pianist Judith Cohen, was published in 2002 by Photographic Arts Editions.
Tone Poems - Book 2, a 12” x 12” hard cover book with 91 black and white images, again combining Bruce’s photography with classical solo, duet and trio music led by pianist Judith Cohen, was published in 2005.
The Art of Photography, An Approach to Personal Expression, first published in 2010 by Rocky Nook and Photographic Arts was reprinted nine times, and translated into five foreign languages before being updated and published as a second edition in 2017. The second edition has been translated into four foreign languages and reprinted several times, making The Art of Photography the recognized standard for photographic insight and instruction.
Plateaus and Canyons, Bruce’s only all-color art/photography book published by Rocky Nook in 2013, explores the wonders of the Colorado Plateau, the unique geological region of the Southwestern U.S.A., including much of Utah and Arizona.
The Essence of Photography: Seeing and Creativity, published by Rocky Nook in 2015 and translated into several languages, won the German Photo book award as the best educational book published in Germany in 2015.
Bruce is a frequent contributor to several photography magazines: He is currently contributing articles for every edition of Darkroom Underground, an online magazine based in the USA, and also for PhotoKlassic, a magnificent international magazine published in Germany, and written in English. He has been published periodically in LensWork, with articles, interviews, his “1998 Portfolio,” his photogravures of 5 images from his studies of the Cathedrals of England, his "Slit Canyon" portfolio, and most recently his “Sand, Stone, and Sandstone” monograph (please see the Books page for details of the monograph). Through his workshops, articles, lectures, textbook, and his innovative photography / music collaboration Bruce is a well respected photographer, educator, and pioneer.
Check out his article: New Thoughts on Digital Photography, along with others on this website.
Bruce has been an active environmental advocate for more than four decades, both independently and through organizations such as the Sierra Club (where he served on the Board of Directors of the Angeles Chapter from 1976-80, and the California Regional Conservation Committee), Audubon, the Stillaguamish Citizens' Alliance (which he co-founded in 1991) now renamed the Mountain Loop Conservancy, 1000 Friends of Washington, and the North Cascades Conservation Council (where he served on the Board of Directors from 1994 to 2015). As a photographer he has seen the changes in our land and our landscape—almost all of them for the worse—that have taken place in the 50 years he has actively been photographing our planet. He points out that we all live on this one magical globe called "Earth," and unless we love it, revere it, and protect it, we'll all perish with it. Currently, we are exploiting planet earth at an unprecedented rate, saddling ourselves with many self-inflicted problems: human overpopulation, global warming, deforestation, overfishing of the oceans, overuse of fresh water resources, pollution of the air, land, and waters (lakes, rivers, and oceans), and many others too numerous to detail. But humanity is doing little to correct any of these problems. We have enough knowledge to recognize the steps that should be taken to turn from our destructive ways to more intelligent, productive, and sustainable means, but we may not have the wisdom or political will to implement that knowledge.