Artist's Bio



Expert Custom Framing with Quality and Style As a professional art photographer, Ruth Burke has many publishing credits to her name. Her images have been featured in national and regional books and magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler, Texas Highways, Metropolitan Home, Bay Runner and Gulfscapes. Currently, she self-publishes many of her images in unique editions on canvas and rag paper. Bentley Publishing distributes and publishes a selection of her images for international distribution, and she is one of the selected artists represented by Island International for her limited edition print series.

Ruth is the featured photographer for a series of photo workshops held annually in the community of Seabrook, Texas. For more information call the Seaside Gallery at 281-326-9200.

Ruth developed her sea shell photography series while playing with her three daughters on the beach. She loved swimming in the ocean and spending time at the beach. She often entertained her children by taking them and their friends to the beach. She always brought her camera to photograph the children building sand castles and playing. They would collect sea shells together, and soon she was placing the shells on the beach, photographing them with the surf. Ruth then began to bring seashells and sand dollars from her collection to photograph on the beach with the surf.

Ruth's early collection of Texas Gulf Coast scenes from Seabrook and the Kemah Boardwalk and waterfront scenes from the late 1970's and early 1980's were created while she was studying photography and art in college. She needed images for her assignments, so she photographed the waterfront area where there were numerous angles with unique compositions. She did not realize that she was recording history that would soon change when Hurricane Alicia hit the Texas Gulf Coast in 1983. Then in 1986 the drawbridge between the two communities was replaced with a fixed span bridge. This greatly changed the landscape of the area and brought in major developers. While docked shrimp boats were once the main part of the scenery, restaurants now line the waterfronts, becoming the playground for the city dwellers from Houston.

In 1980, Ruth set up a booth at the Nassau Bay Art Festival where she featured her local photography of sailboats and shrimp boats on the bay, the drawbridge and waterfront landmark scenes. She almost sold out and therefore her career in art photography began. Since then, she has participated in many major juried art festivals across the United States.

While her daughters were young, Ruth stayed close to home in Texas, showing at the Westheimer Art Festival (now called the Bayou City Art Festival), the Houston International Festival, Laguna Gloria Art Festival in Austin, Kaleidescope Art Festival in Beaumont, Art in the Park in Corpus Christi, Rockport Art Festival in Rockport, Dallas 500 and many more.

Ruth opened the Seaside Gallery in 1989 in the waterfront community of Seabrook, Texas. Ruth's original location overlooked the Back Bay at 1105 Second Street in the 1920's Harrel home (the building was destroyed in 2008 by Hurricane Ike). In 1999 she relocated to the commercial district near NASA's Johnson Space Center at 204 Kirby. The gallery features an extensive collection of Ruth Burke's art photography and also offers many custom services including picture framing and print sizes.


Ruth is known for her style of painting with a camera. She does not rely on special effect filters or digital manipulation to create an image. She uses her "creative eye" to etch what captures her attention from life onto film. The result is a film original or "photographic etching" that she will convert into a digital file or "printing plate" for making a giclee print.

Prior to 2008 Ruth captured her original image on fine-grain transparency film. She used Kodachrome 64 from 1978 until the mid-nineties when she switched to Fugi Velvia 100. Currently she captures her images digitally with her Nikon cameras using a variety of lenses. Her wide-angle lenses start at 16mm and her telephoto lenses go up to 800mm. She also uses a 100mm macro for close-up shooting. She refers to her lenses as the different brushes an artist would use to get different effects. Often she will use more than one lens while shooting a scene.

Ruth finds her subjects in her many travels as well as those near her home on Galveston Bay. She prefers to let her photographic experience be an adventure. Often a subject will catch her eye because of the light and design elements in the scene. She will then frame the scene in her viewfinder to decide whether the elements have potential for a unique image. If the light is changing, she will act quickly to capture the special light, using different angles. Often she will crop different sections of the scene, looking at the design and shapes of the elements in a scene to create a compelling composition.

Shooting primarily in Manuel mode, Usually very quick decisions have to be made about the correct shutter speed and aperture to use. While many cameras will make these selections automatically, Ruth prefers to use her cameras on manual or aperture priority. She uses the aperture and shutter speed selections to create different looks. Therefore, Ruth feels that it is important to understand how each setting affects the scene, creating what the photographer wants to convey in the image.

Ruth enjoys long walks in nature, on beaches and exploring side streets in cities. She likes to be surprised, capturing art as it presents itself to her. Often it is the simple subjects that make the most compelling images.

About Ruth Burke

As a professional art photographer, Ruth Burke has many publishing credits to her name. Her images have been featured in national and regional books and magazines such as Conde Nast Traveler, Texas Highways, Metropolitan Home, Bay Runner and Gulfscapes.

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