Upon completing a workshop from the esteemed colour photographer Arthur Meyerson, you are added to his alumni mailing list. He then gets around to sending you a questionaire about yourself to be forwarded on the list. In lieu of a formal bio, here's my answers to his questions . . .
AM: Where do you live and what do you do for a living?
JRB: I live in North Vancouver, British Columbia. For a living I analyze large scale legacy software systems with a view to modernizing them.
AM: Where/when did you first develop your interest in photography?
JRB: Like many, I photographed in high school and briefly had a darkroom in a basement bathroom. My father had given me an Argus C3 and a 100' roll of expired B&W film from his work. The interest waned until the 80s when I purchased an SLR, a Contax 139, for a vacation in New Zealand.
AM: Of all the art forms in the world, why photography?
JRB: Because it has both technical and artistic merits in equal amounts. It also straddles the analogue/digital boundary which I find endlessly fascinating.
AM: What approach do you take to photography?
JRB: When taking several photographs of a subject, typically it's the first image that is the better one. I spend the most time getting a clear picture of what to shoot before taking that first photo. It seems that for me working the scene degrades that mental picture.
AM: How often do you photograph?
JRB: In spurts. After a workshop or more frequently a meetup I'll continue taking photos on the theme for a time. I cohost a meetup group here. At lunch hour I'll walk around the city with my camera. Also, I'm most fortunate in that my wife takes photos as well, so we go together on a hike with our cameras. We review all our results together.
AM: Other than workshops, have you had any formal training in photography?
JRB: Workshops and Russ & Wendy Kwan's three semester micro-school is as formal as it as been.
AM: What is your favorite genre of photography?
JRB: What I'm shooting at the time is the flippant answer. Wide angle mostly, if that's a genre. I like the challenge it presents.
AM: What inspires you or where do you seek inspiration?
JRB: Whenever disparate ideas come together to unveil something new. I read somewhere that a great way to get deeper into one subject is to study something quite different and see how the two subjects relate. I take inspiration from the resultant aha moments. Also, a pleasing sense of balance is inspiring.
AM: Who do you most admire (past or present) and why or who’s art do you admire?
I enjoy modern art and modern music. There are so many creative people today and accessible ways to be creative. Then I also enjoy the old masters, Renoir in particular.
AM: What is your greatest personal achievement?
JRB: The fact that my sons, without bidding and regardless of where we are, have always said I love you and give me a hug every time we meet and part.
AM: Name somewhere and/or someone you’d love to photograph?
JRB: The Northwest Passage. Or anywhere in Italy.
AM: Do you have a favorite photography book?
JRB: One I especially like is Mother Earth, Through the Eyes of Women Photographers and Writers edited by Judith Boice. A photo of lavender fields by Sonja Bullaty is a favourite. I like to have something to read along with the photographs, something not directly about taking photographs.
AM: What do you collect?
JRB: I'm no longer collecting things, being currently in a decluttering phase. We're collecting experiences from now on.
AM: What is your most valuable possession?
JRB: In order to declutter I think you need to let slip the absolute value of your possessions. To that end I think of those I've hung on to, like the Argus C3, as a placeholder for the experiences gone by. I have a lot of those.
AM: If you were to invite 1‐5 personalities for a dinner conversation, who would they be?
JRB: Keeping with the theme of exploring other subjects to discover my role in photography, I'd like to sit down with some very disparate people. Copernicus, because I'd like to know what drove him, under huge pressure, to persist with the idea that the earth was less important than everyone else thought it was. Queen Noor, ex of Jordan has always been fascinating to me for being successful in the role of a fish out of water. My Uncle Basil, because I miss him; and as a boy, whenever I looked into his face, old and weathered from working his farm, I always saw the face of a young man looking back at me; it's a lesson I cherish. Richard Feynman to help make sense of it all and add some fun to the evening. And my wife Gisele, who is also my muse.
AM: Aside from photography, what is your favorite pastime?
JRB: Doing things with and for family and friends. We have birthday months rather than days, which is a great incentive to get together and celebrate often. I've just had my 65th which means lots of things are less expensive than they were last month.
AM: What camera and equipment do you use?
JRB: Most of my photographs are taken with a Canon 6D and the Zeiss ZE 2/35 lens or the Zeiss ZE 2.8/21. Second most photos are taken with a Sony RX100. Very occasionally I'll use a Contax RTS II film or a 4x5 view camera and then scan the negatives with the Epson V700 scanner. I also very much enjoy printing using Epson 3880 and 9600 printers. A favourite lens is the Zeiss S-Planar 2.8/60 macro which was used for the image of poppies attached to this post.
AM: What is/ are your goals in photography?
JRB: I'd like to be recognized as a fine art photographer. To have my prints displayed in a gallery and subsequently hanging on the wall of someone who found them worth the asking price. It's good to have a goal.
AM: Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know.
JRB: I once worked in a building with 5 nuclear reactors in it. One of which was exactly like the reactor in a swimming pool in the James Bond movie. I was a junior Fortran programmer at Atomic Energy of Canada's research campus in the Ontario wilderness.