Don Burrows is equally at home in the photographic darkroom as he is on the stage. To be blessed with a talent at a level few artists attain is one thing, to carry that talent to a second artistic medium is reserved for a few gifted individuals.
Don Burrows has been treading the boards as a professional musician for 65 years. In 1973 the twice-named Australian Living Treasure received the first Gold Record ever awarded to an Australian jazz musician, instigated the first Jazz studies program in the Southern Hemisphere at the NSW Conservatorium of Music and was awarded an MBE.
In 1987 he was awarded the Order of Australia (AO) and in 2000 received the coveted Sir Bernard Heinze Award for service to Australia, a rare honour for a musician. In the same year he was awarded the first of his three honorary doctorates.
But the honour he treasures most is the title of Special Ambassador of Photography to Children bestowed on him by the Photographic Imaging Council of Australia (PICA). His 1995 Keating Creative Arts Fellowship resulted in many trips to outback schools and alongside his musical instruments were his photographs taken in the many countries where he played with and befriended people like Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie and Nat King Cole. He found interest high among the children, many of whom have since displayed ability in both music and photography.
The simplest of cameras, the Kodak Box Brownie, was his starting point in photography at age 11. He joined the Sans Souci and Carringbah Camera Clubs well before the advent of the medium in art schools. The camera club movement provided regular forums for the development of well-informed and practiced amateur photography.
While his music flourished and made him famous around the world, Burrows entered countless photographic competitions. He learned what a good photograph should look like and this became part of his way of life, working in parallel with his musical development over the next 50 years.
To read more about the history of Don Burrows and his musical partners you can download the following article "Partners in Time"