Irwin Barrett: An Artist’s Eye on the Natural World

31 Jan 2022

Irwin Barrett, self-portrait.

You may not know Irwin Barrett, but you’ve almost certainly seen his work. Over the past several years, his incredible photographs of landscapes across Nova Scotia have helped us showcase the wild legacy you are helping the Nature Trust save. He’s shared his images from the Blue Mountain Wilderness Area and protected lands in Cape Breton, and taken intrepid adventures to new protected areas like Port La Tour Beach in search of nature’s beauty. We’re delighted to celebrate Irwin as our Volunteer of the Month and to share more about the unique artistic perspective he brings to Nova Scotia’s amazing landscapes.

Even as a little kid I loved being in the outdoors, especially playing in the fields and woods across from my house in Middle Sackville.

I first got seriously involved in Landscape and Nature photography when I was 25 and have been doing it ever since then. I worked for many years in a number of different Stock photography companies in Canada and more recently in two companies that sell Fine Art prints, frames and other products.

I love the whole spectrum of Landscape photography—from the sweeping, broad vistas to the more intimate, closer-up, very detailed patterns, lines, shapes, and textures found in the land and nature around us. I love to search for often graphic, abstract details that I may see anywhere around me in nature or the man-made world, even at night. Particularly in the winter, I search out the lines, shapes, textures, patterns and colours found in ice; when photographed up close, I see how they are very abstract in form and presentation.

For me the key to all of my photography is to always strive to keep my photographs as simple and uncluttered as possible, with no distracting elements to take away from the main subject matter.

I really first got interested in the Nova Scotia Nature Trust after meeting my friend, Chris Miller, the head of the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), who has been friends with the Nature Trust for many years now. I have volunteered and helped out CPAWS NS with many photos, and since there are a number of overlapping areas of interest to both organizations, such as the St. Mary’s River area, the 100 Wild Islands, and of course the Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness, it made sense to share my work and time with the Nature Trust too. 

I have been honoured to help out the Nature Trust in any way I can with their use of my photos –  as humble and minor as that may really be! – in trying to illustrate these precious wilderness areas that we are fighting so hard to save.

The Nova Scotia Nature Trust is a wonderful and amazing organization and I would encourage everyone who is concerned with saving some of the last wilderness left in this province to give whatever they can – time, money, talent, land – to this very worthy cause.

Please join us in thanking Irwin for his volunteer service – and for the incredible images he captures!

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