Bruce Binning photo display

A display of Bruce Binning’s photographs in the window at the Donna Reed Theater in uptown Denison. Photo by Dan Mundt

“I was always touched by his photography and his talent,” Pam Soseman said of the late Bruce Binning.

Soseman and Jerry Peterman are in charge of the Donna Reed Foundation archives and the window displays in the foundation museum.

They recently assembled a display of the photographic works of Bruce Binning, who died in June 2019.

Binning captured images of Denison and Crawford County life in action for the Denison Bulletin and Review for more than 50 years.

Soseman said she and Peterman decided some years ago to begin accepting items from individuals for inclusion in the Donna Reed Foundation archives.

“We started accepting people’s items of a historical nature that they wanted saved,” she said. “A lot of it pertained to Donna Reed and a lot of it pertained to notable Denisonites.”

The notables have included individuals such as NFL player Brandon Scherff and famous aviator Clarence Chamberlin.

Over the years, some of the items have been used in the window displays at the theater.

“We decided to do a small feature of Bruce Binning’s images,” Soseman said. “Bruce was definitely a Denison notable. He had a great history of Denison photography.”

She reached out to Bruce’s family – his daughter, Angie, and wife, Joyce – to ask if they would be willing to share prints of some of Bruce’s photographs with the foundation and the community.

“They were more than willing to do that,” Soseman said.

She let Angie and Joyce pick the photographs for the display, but she had one in mind that she definitely wanted included.

“The Denison Bulletin and Review had a 50th anniversary celebration for Bruce at Cronk’s and I specifically remembered a flower image that he had done that had been enlarged,” she said. “It is the center focus of the current display in the Donna Reed window.”

Bruce didn’t print all that many of his photographs, Soseman learned.

“They (Angie and Joyce) picked what was available and, to me, there are some very stunning images in the window,” she said. “I think it adds a great bit of color and life to the window.”

Putting the display together involved removing the Bedford Falls miniature and other Christmas decorations that had been in place since December.

In all, the process took about six and a half hours and included many trips up and down the stairs to the archive room in the theater basement.

Bruce’s photographs will remain on display for four to six weeks, which is shorter than most of the window presentations at the theater.

The short run will help prevent damage to the prints that could be caused by exposure to sunlight.

“When we do a Donna Reed display, the images are reproductions,” Soseman said. “These are all originals so we will watch it very closely.”

All of the photographs are visible from the sidewalk.

“Some are lying in front of other images and you may need to step around to the side window a little bit – there is an image tucked to the side of the front display,” Soseman said.

The works included give a good sense of Bruce’s talents as a photographer, she said.

“He was a great man and loved what he did,” Soseman said. “I can’t say enough good about the man.”

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