DENISON — Denison said goodbye to a long-time photojournalist last week.
Bruce A. Binning, who captured the area’s life in photographs for the Denison Bulletin and Review for more than 50 years, died at his home in Denison on June 18. He had been dealing with health issues for more than a year and a half. He was 77 years old.
Binning’s ability to capture unique perspectives on events — from celebrations to disasters and moments in everyday life — earned him a multitude of honors — approximately 300 photography awards in a variety of contests, including those sponsored by the Iowa Newspaper Association (INA).
On Feb. 5, 2016, he was presented with the INA’s Distinguished Service Award. The award honors long-time journalists for their contributions to the newspaper profession and to their communities.
At the awards presentation, it was said that Binning was possibly “the best known person in his community” and was gifted in capturing a moment in just the right way, which resulted in thousands of people touched by his photographs.
But more than awards, Binning was gratified by the compliments given by the people he photographed and by those who enjoyed his photographs of news and events, and landscape and wildlife.
His legacy can also be seen in the photographs he took of the multiple generations of area residents, often multiple generations of the same families, freezing forever in time little slices of their lives. These were not necessarily pivotal events in their lives, although he did that, too.
He used his talents to tell the story about everyday moments — a young child sitting on a retaining wall with the bubbles he is releasing from a wand frozen in the air, a teacher pointing out the blazing colors of a tree while taking students on a field trip in the autumn, or a man or woman taking a dog on a walk, the distance they have yet to travel emphasized by a low camera angle.
Binning would often tell stories about the people he photographs at different stages in their lives — from baby or toddler to an adult with children or grandchildren.
The effect of Binning’s photography on people can be illustrated by phrases we’ve often heard: “I remember when Bruce took my picture when I was ---.” And: “I still have that newspaper clipping (or photograph).”
Binning had a love for the vistas offered by the Loess Hills and the tops of hills along lesser-used roads, sharing the beauty he saw in the outdoors with others.
That was the magic of his photography — capturing a slice of extraordinary art in something others might view as ordinary.