Burton Hanson (better known by neighbors as Randy) is a retired government lawyer who’s been taking pictures since 1956 when his mother gave him a Kodak 120 for his 13th birthday. He made the switch to a 35mm camera a few years later, a Nikon SLR that he used until 2008 when his daughter gave him a Nikon D80 digital camera. For the past 45 years as an Edina resident, Hanson says his main subjects have been family, friends and what he calls “places of my heart.”
In recent years, Hanson has combined his interest in photography with his lifelong love of walking. He keeps in mind a Henry David Thoreau quote, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see,” and says his pictures constitute a sort of photo journal of his walks. He says carrying a camera on his walks keeps him alert to different kinds of light and the beauty of everyday life.
Hanson photographs the iconic Edina Theatre sign in all seasons and light conditions. For this photo titled Spring Sunrise, 50th & France, Hanson was standing at the stoplight waiting to cross the street on an early May morning. “When I looked up, I immediately saw the dramatic early light transforming the color of the sign and the dramatic contrasting cloud pattern.” There was no time to lose, so he snapped from far away. He’d later crop out the lower obstructing tree branches leaving an image of just the top “E.” Burton says, “Sometimes when I look at this picture I like to imagine the 'E' part of the sign as a newly-risen sunlit tulip contrasted with the startling early morning cloudy spring sky.”