A Mind's Eye


Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-86492-066-0





Reviewed by Hans B. Neumann

Hans B. Neumann is a history lecturer at Scarborough College, University
of Toronto.


This slim volume contains a collection of black-and-white photographs selected from the portfolio of distinguished Canadian photographer, entomologist, and ecologist, R.E. Balch. In total 83 full-page photographs have been included. They are reproduced on high-quality, glossy paper, and each is identified by a brief caption. Balch’s approach to photography as well as a brief treatment of his fascinating multifarious career are clearly presented in a seven-page introduction by Astrid Brunner.

The title of the book refers to Balch’s highly personal approach to photography, an approach derived mostly from his scientific studies and his many life experiences. His pictures hence reflect this unique way of seeing the world through his “mind’s eye.” Almost all the photographs depict nature scenes or people.

The photographs themselves serve well to illustrate Balch’s photographic vision. Their mostly stark, austere images and forms (and that is why Balch prefers black and white film) span such disparate locales as France, Scotland, and again and again New Brunswick, where Balch has resided in Fredericton for most of his adult life. Since many of the pictures date back to the 1920s and 1930s, when he began his photographic efforts, they are not only of photographic but of historical value as well.

Except for the general reader residing in the New Brunswick area, this book would probably not arouse a great deal of interest. However, the reader with a bent for photography — and especially the Cartier-Bresson school of photography — would derive considerable inspiration from the perusal of the images presented in this book.


Balch, R.E., “A Mind's Eye,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 23, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/35669.