Bur focuses lens to explore natural world

Alison Bur combines her appreciation for the environment and natural world with a love for photography.

The art junior credits her success as an artist to her dedication to always trying something new, and the knowledge she’s gained as an art student at Saginaw Valley.

Bur is the Art Editor of Cardinal Sins, SVSU’s art and literature journal. Her work has appeared inside the pages of Cardinal Sins and her color photo, “Arise” was recently chosen for inclusion in the Winter 2014 edition of Photographers Forum Magazine, a collection of best college and high school photography.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Brandy Abraham

Art junior Alison Bur uses photography to capture moments in nature. She believes in the power of continual learning and draws inspiration from growing up in northern Michigan.

“Arise” also won the Juror’s Award in the Art Department’s 8th Annual Student show and is on display at the Common Grind in the Cardinal View Plaza along with four other pieces by Bur and other showcased artists.

Her work is also on display on campus in the lobby of Living Center Southwest. Bur has exhibited her work in the Cardinal Photography Student Association (CPSA) Student Show in the Golden Gallery in Bay City.

Bur considers “Arise” to be one of her best, but doesn’t plan on stopping there.

“I deeply believe that you should never stop pushing yourself to keep growing and improving as an artist,” she said.

“Arise” is a composition focusing on the on-campus Zen Garden located near Arbury. She admitted that, at first glance, many people believe it is heavily edited. However, Bur revealed that the photo is actually an image of the reflection of the rocks and the bell tower in the water.

Bur said she couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a camera in her hand.

When she was six years old, she received a camera for Christmas. It was a pink, Barbie, plastic camera with a small roll of film in the back.  She said that camera is what started it all.

“All I can remember is taking pictures of everything I could,” she said. “I think it first started when I had a camera in my hands for the first time and hasn’t stopped since.”

Bur said she was never really serious about photography until she was a sophomore in high school and her parents got their first digital camera. She admitted to “borrowing” the camera until her parents gave it to her.

Growing up in Northern Michigan, her childhood home in Cheboygan was positioned in the corner of a hay field that is farmed during the summer.

Bur said she takes a lot of inspiration from the natural world, and growing up in the country influenced her toward that artistic medium.

“I like to capture those little, tiny things that people pass by every day,” she said.

She isn’t afraid to get into the grass, the dirt, to find those looked-over moments.

“I want to share them, and that’s why I search them out,” she said.

Bur said she tries to capture a moment that she sees within her own vision. With an interest in transience, she models herself after other artists she admires, such as Andy Goldsworthy, who also goes out into the natural environment to create his work. He uses natural forming materials, like icicles, and creates a composition using materials from the natural world.

“I take a lot of inspiration from him because what I like to photograph most is the natural world and the environment,” she said. “But I definitely do it in my own way.”

Bur said that one thing she has developed during her time at SVSU is the ability to look at photography from a fine art perspective, which has made her consider applying for a BFA in photography in the fall.

“I look for the formal elements of art — like line, shape, texture, color,” she said. “I am looking for these things and that’s how I make my compositions.”

She said to make beautiful compositions is to understand the most basic processes of photography and learning the history behind the art.

“It is so great to see (my work) progress. I feel honored to be able to take pictures now and have the knowledge to help myself keep growing as an artist,” she said.

Bur hopes to one day combine her appreciation for art with her graphic design education and keep growing, learning and producing.

She said she wants her life to be in a constant state of learning.

“It is really about believing in your work and submitting to everything and taking every opportunity to be a better artist,” she said.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 17th, 2014 and is filed under A&E. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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