By Abbey Snow


Photographer Larry Burton to Teach Workshops 

The Virgin Valley Artists Association recently announced their First Artist in Residence Grant and have selected photographer Larry Burton from the Nevada Arts Council list of approved instructors to teach a free, week-long series of photography workshops at the Mesquite Fine Arts Center February 21st through 25th for the public to attend. 

Burton currently lives in Carson City, Nevada and has been a professional photographer for over 40 years throughout Nevada and the Eastern Sierra regions in California. Having many career opportunities involving the outdoors has given Burton even more exposure to nature that have enhanced his photography skills. 

Since he was a child, Burton has been interested in photography. He started taking photographs as a hobby around 1975, which turned into a career in 1980 while living in the Independence California area. Because he lived in a remote area, formal classes were difficult to attend, so the majority of his education came from books, workshops and mentoring from professional photographers. He often provided guide services to professional photographers in and around the Owens Valley areas which gave him outstanding opportunities to learn the craft from people in actual shooting situations with the best equipment available.

“I have lived remote most of my life and have a strong connection to the land,” Burton said. “I have been an active outdoorsman and hunter and fisherman my whole life. So, photography is a natural extension of that. Living where I did, I’ve had elk bugling in my backyard, coyotes in the side yard under the clothes line, and waterfowl beyond description in the front yard. That all gives a person a different view of the world and an intimate knowledge that can’t be taught in school.”

While in the Owens Valley he was certified as a Hunter Education Teacher in 1979 and started his teaching activities there. They progressed through time to include all aspects of outdoor education and continue to this day. He was also a hunting and fishing tour guide in the early 80’s. 

Burton held a 30 year wildlife career working for two different state agencies, Nevada and California. He managed fish hatcheries raising trout, salmon & steelhead fish. 

He has also given countless hours of his time volunteering for various groups including:  Lions Club Carlin, NV. for 3 years; Volunteer FireFighter in  Ruby Valley VFD for 20 years; Volunteer Outdoor Educator for 38 years; 4H volunteer Ruby Valley NV. for 6 years; Nevada Fire Safe Council for 10 years; Volunteer photography work for Nevada Native Community for 3 years; Volunteer photography work for Cowboy Country (Travel Nevada) for 8 years.  

Because of a job related injury, Buron was forced to retire in 2008 and started his own business,’Outdoor Adventures,’ with the emphasis on providing instructional photo tours in rural Nevada and selling images to interested parties. Over time, his business has included teaching photography workshops for artists of all ages.  

“Teaching has been another milestone in my career that has been particularly rewarding,” Burton said. “Teaching is a two way street, especially with the advancements in technology.  It’s not uncommon for me to meet a student with newer equipment than mine. I can teach them the basics of good photography and they expose me to a piece of equipment I would not normally see.I enjoy the feedback from the students and their fresh perspective since it allows me to get back to my roots when I first started and see things anew. Also, there is nothing better than seeing someone have an “ah ha” moment when they figure something new out.”

Burton first began teaching photography classes in 2014 while he was working for Nevada’s Indian Territory collecting images of all of the tribal properties in the state. 

“I was approached by Great Basin Native Artists and asked to teach native artists how to photograph their work, ” Burton said. “Our first class was held in the Reno-Sparks area around 2015. About this same time, the Nevada Arts Council asked if I would be interested in becoming a certified instructor and working in the remote areas of the state. I submitted a portfolio for review and was added to the list during the next open recruitment.” 

Burton was a member of the Nevada Artists Association until about five years ago when he resigned because of conflicts with other projects. However, they still have him occasionally help judge their annual shows. He is on the Nevada Arts Council list of approved instructors. He works on a regular basis with the Stewart Indian School Museum and Cultural Center in Carson City, Nevada and has an image on permanent display in their lobby. He has worked with the National Endowment for the Arts as a project evaluator.

“One of my proudest achievements was collecting 30,000 plus images for Nevada’s Indian Territory,” Burton said. “The Nevada Indian Territory was created as a marketing arm of Nevada Tourism,  but didn’t have enough photos to start an aggressive marketing campaign.They advertised for a photographer in the fall of 2013 and I submitted a portfolio along with 14 other photographers and I was eventually given the contract. The Nevada Arts Council helped with that process and selection, that is how I first came to their attention. Over the following two years, I collected, edited and inventoried over 30,000 images across the state by taking pictures of reservations, art, events such as Pow Wows and people. These were used in brochures, on the website,in Nevada Magazine, and for displays across the state in places like the Reno Tahoe Airport and the Nevada State Capitol.” 

Burton also teaches classes through the Action Camera Store in Reno, Nevada as well as the Tonopah Convention and Visitor Authority. 

“The Action Camera Classes have been really good for evaluating the effectiveness of my classes as has Tonopah,” Burton said. “ We get students from all of the adjoining states and lots of repeat customers. The joke at the store is about my ‘followers.’ I also give private lessons and lots of my students are repeat customers from the regular groups.”

Burton has been tied in with assorted museums of one sort or another most of his life in the communities he lived in. His work has been published in Nevada Magazine, Wells Ruralite, Frontier phone books, Elko Convention & Visitors Authority Calendars & Visitors Guides, Audubon Magazine, Ducks Unlimited Calendars and Carson City Nevada Visitors Guide.

“Photography is all about light,” Burton said. “ It always has been and always will be. My classes teach people how to interpret that light and  record what they see using their chosen medium. It doesn’t matter if you are shooting wildlife, people, artwork or landscapes.”

Burton’s classes are all hands on, so bring your camera and plan on taking lots of photos.

“My classes run the gamut with an emphasis on using basic cameras to achieve professional results. As for recording, digital is the modern storage method. I show people how to file and organize what they shoot. Both the Indian Territory and Lander County Tourism are using systems today that I set up for them.The last but not least thing I stress is to print your images, there is no substitute for a print.”

Any member of the community can find the material beneficial for marketing community events, participating in social media, or photographing family members and events. Recently, Burton has completed workshops for Great Basin Native Artists, Nevada Magazine, The Nevada Indian Commission, Travel Nevada, and the Nevada Artists’ Association. 

“I would encourage everyone to relax and have a good time,” Burton said. “This is not rocket science and we will get the most out of it if we approach it as if we were still kids.”

Burton’s  photography workshop in Mesquite will run Monday, Feb 21st through Friday, Feb 25th at Mesquite Fine Arts Center at 15 W Mesquite Blvd,Mesquite,NV. 

The workshops include: 

Monday, February 21 – “Entry Level Digital Photography”

Tuesday, February 22 – An on-site photo outing follow-up to the Entry Level Workshop 

Wednesday, February 23 and repeated Thursday February 24 – “Taking Quality Images of Your Artwork.” 

Friday, February 25 – “Evaluation and Editing Your Images” 

All sessions are free and open to the public. Early registration is encouraged. Information and registration is available at: 

Mesquite Fine Arts Center

15 W Mesquite Blvd,Mesquite,NV.

Photography by Larry Burton ( Photo credit- Larry Burton)