Biography – Wayne Bridge

feeding chickadees along OpeongoI was born in Guelph, Ontario and would live there until I was in my mid-thirties. Music was my initial passion; I played professionally in lounge and dance bands for many years. Although I had two forays into the world of human resources, I eventually earned a B.A. in Music at the University of Guelph and did two years of graduate work in ethnomusicology at York University (where I was a Teaching Assistant). My intention was to become a music professor but not everything works out the way you want. I did, however, compose the music for, and record, three CDs as a solo guitarist. Primarily, up to 2006, I operated my own music teaching studio in Fergus, Ontario.

Responding to an urge that wouldn’t go away, from 1991 to 1993 I studied photography through the New York Institute. As my interest in the business of music waned, I found that photography, especially nature photography, had captured my artistic passion.

In 1994 I discovered canoe-tripping in Algonquin Park which proved to be a life-changing event. I took my first bull moose photos on that trip and I was hooked. After that, for the next twelve years I made as many photo excursions as possible to The Park – in all seasons. During that period of my career, I was just trying to take photographs I could use to supplement nature articles I was writing, or as subjects for my photocard business. There was nothing artistic or creative happening with my photography; no imagination. Basically I was passively documenting my natural world experiences on film (in those pre-digital days).

As the years passed, the call of the Canadian Shield country became increasingly hard to ignore. The muse was beckoning. In 1998 I purchased a parcel of land In Bethune Township west of the Algonquin boundary. Then, in 2006, my wife Beth and I moved full-time into a second property along the Rain Lake Access Point Road.

Wayne at High Falls Trail Algonquin ParkUnfortunately, I found myself becoming increasingly dissatisfied with photography, or, more to the point, “my” photography. I had progressed to the point where I could produce a technically flawless photograph, if I wanted, but my heart – my soul – wasn’t in it. I wasn’t creating; I wasn’t even interpreting, I was recording.

My life – not unlike almost every other human being’s – has been a long, slow, painful spiritual journey. I have sought to go farther than many. So it is that I now find myself looking to express my soul, my spirit, through my photography. I want to tap the artistic power, the spiritual emotion and passion, that resides within all of us.

This is a very difficult process, requiring awareness of the inner urges, and openness to imagination and my own vision, but when it works it is rewarding beyond words. Although we moved to Waterloo in 2016 – to be closer to family – I feel certain that Algonquin Park will continue to be part of my path.