WALK INTO THE BRANDENBURG GALLERY in Luverne with a camera and you likely will feel unworthy and intimidated, but mostly in awe.
This gallery houses the work of native son Jim Brandenburg, probably Minnesota’s best-known nature photographer.
For more than three decades, Brandenburg traveled the globe photographing for National Geographic. Yes, he’s that good. He’s accumulated numerous awards and has been published in so many places I can’t possibly list them all. (Click here to read his biography.)
For years I’ve wanted to tour this gallery in the extreme southwestern corner of my state, to view, close up, the images I’ve seen in books, plus more. I wanted to study his photos—the light, the angles, the perspective.
Brandenburg is known for his focus on light. Light, as all serious photographers understand, can make or break a photo. This noted photographer features some of his best “light” photos in a published collection, Chased by the Light—A 90-Day Journey. Images from that book are among those showcased in the gallery.
Given my deep love for my native southwestern Minnesota prairie, I most appreciate Brandenburg’s prairie images, displayed on the first floor of the gallery. If you doubt that beauty exists on the prairie, you won’t after seeing these photos.
The gallery’s lower level offers a variety of images, but focuses on scenes from Minnesota’s northwoods, where Brandenburg now lives and works near Ely. Think mostly wolves.
After meandering through the gallery, I contemplated not only the talent Brandenburg possesses as a photographer, but his deep knowledge of the natural world and the patience required to wait for the ideal light or for an animal’s arrival. To anticipate, to react or not, to click the shutter button at the precise moment takes a certain talent. And I was graced, for an hour, to walk in the light of such incredible talent.
FYI: The Brandenburg Gallery, 213 East Luverne St., is open from 8 a.m – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday and from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturdays. There is no admission fee. Note that I had difficulty finding the gallery as the address does not seem to coincide with the street on which the gallery is located. When you see the courthouse, you’ve found the gallery, located right next door in the old county jail, now the Rock County Veterans Memorial Building. The building is actually along McKenzie Street.
Also, note that I asked permission to photograph in the gallery and was given the OK to do so.
© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling