BOOK BEAT 11 – Connie Bransilver

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times    September 27-October 3, 2006

by Philip K. Jason

Internationally known photographer and author Connie Bransilver has been living a most remarkable life. Born and raised in Albuquerque, she earned a B .A. from Duke and a J.D. from the University of New Mexico Law School. She practiced international law in London and served as a Legislative Assistant in the U. S. House of Representatives. During her years in London, Bransilver founded a women’s theatre and the City Women’s Network. Bransilver has also worked as a private banker. Somewhere along the way, she became an award-winning naturalist and photographer who has taken photographs on all seven continents. Her work is held in public and private collections world-wide. 

Among Bransilver’s distinctions: her photograph was the Grand Prize Winner and conference symbol for the 1995 UN Conference on Women. In 1997, her Chinstrap Penguins on Ice was the Grand Prize Photograph in Explorers Club Magazine. She was the 1999 African Wildlife Foundation Photographer of the Year.

Naples groups have recognized this creative individual as well. In 2005, she was the first photographic artist on the Artists’ Studio Tour organized by the Friends of Art at the Naples Art Museum. That same year, the Naples chapter of the American Association of University Women honored her as a “Woman of Achievement.” Not long ago, there was a portfolio of her work was featured in Gulfshore Life.

Bransilver first came to Naples in November of 1987, after many years of living in London.  For a few years she commuted between Washington, D.C. and Naples, but then she discovered that Naples was “much, much more than glitz” and spent more and more time here until finally becoming a full-time resident in 1992. She was attracted to the many interesting people with great stories to tell as well as the vast amount of wilderness within minutes of town. “The glories of the natural world,” Bransilver observes, “are generously bestowed on all of south Florida.”

As a nature photographer/conservationist/artist, Connie Bransilver can live anywhere, as long as an airport is nearby. Her work takes her all over the world, but when she is not traveling, Bransilver finds that there is much to discover and expose right here – enough to have inspired her to complete two books on our region. There may be more coming out in the future.

Bransilver’s first book, Florida’s Unsung Wilderness: The Swamps (with Larry Richardson) is a mesmerizing, inspiring journey through our neighboring swamplands. It reveals the beauty and variety of this complex ecosystem, photographs and text informing one another. More than a collection of photographs, this book pays homage to a fragile wilderness and movingly argues for its protection and preservation.

Wild Love Affair: Essence of Florida’s Native Orchids is a magnificent celebration of these captivating and mysterious miracles of nature. Bransilver gives us not only the natural beauty, but the spiritual essence of these alluring blooms, reminding us always of the hold they have on the human imagination. This book, which includes contributions by Paul Martin Brown and John Beckner, stirs our souls and minds on many levels. Both books are from Westcliffe Publishers.

Bransilver is much too active to find sufficient time to promote her books. However, this fall she is renewing the marketing of Wild Love Affair with a major exhibition at the

South Florida Community College Museum of Florida Art & Culture in Tampa and through a number of other presentations during the winter season.

On a different front, she just signed a contract with National Geographic to do a ten minute segment of a half hour show called “Wild Chronicles” that will air on PBS and also on the National Geographic Channel and will be syndicated throughout the world.  It will also be available on the web. This project is on the discovery of a new species of lemur in Madagascar. Bransilver is also working, along with five or six other contributors, on a huge and comprehensive book on Madagascar for Conservation International.  It will be accompanied by a DVD and website. 

So, as the lady says, “I keep myself busy …..”

Find out more about Connie Bransilver, including how to order her books and fine art photographs, at her website: conniebransilver.com

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy. A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club. Send him your book news at pjason@aol.com.

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Filed under Authors and Books, Book Beat, Florida Authors

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