Cinematographer and educator, Robert Burrill’s mission, “Making important films on photography,” led him to Ruth Bernhard, with whom he became close friends.


Born in Berlin, the daughter of internationally known typographer, Lucian Bernhard, Ruth joined her father in New York. In 1935, a prophetic meeting with Edward Weston inspired her work as a photographer. In 1952, Ruth moved to San Francisco where she continued working and teaching for 25 years, conducting workshops throughout the United States.


Ruth Bernhard began a small film project with Robert Burrill in 1978, then worked with him between 1984 to 1988 to complete a feature-length biographic film, “Illuminations: Ruth Bernhard, Photographer, which premiered in 1989 in San Francisco and toured the West Coast.  After Ruth passed on December 18, 2006, Burrill was inspired to re-release the film, renamed “Ruth Bernhard - American Master,” originally taken in 16mm.


Ruth Bernhard is charming, eloquent, her passion for life and light immediately apparent: “Today is the Day.  And I always say, yes to life with a passion,” Ruth explains. “Then I wait with my intuition to see what is going to happen.  Everything is connected.  And I remain obedient to the light which is the universal connection in the universe.”




Her images have been published worldwide and in eight books from 1957 to 2000.  Her photographic legacy can be found in prestigious museums and universities in Tokyo, San Francisco, Denver, New York, London, Mexico City, and Frankfurt. Today, Ruth joins the rankings of  Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.


The Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Scott Street, San Francisco, CA, will host the re-release of her film on January 25, 2014, 1-5pm, accompanied by a photographic exhibition, as well as the companion film, “John Wimberley, American Master.” For information, please call: (415) 554-9522.



Our film trailer can be viewed at:

Also visit: www.RbArts.Com

or Ruth Bernhard Archive: