Brummett, Thomas

Thomas Brummett, Philadelphia, USA

Thomas Brummett has been working as an artist and professional photographer since 1983 when he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work is in multiple museum and corporate collections including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Cranbrook Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art Rio de Janeiro, The Silverman Collection, The Wilmington Trust Collection, AXA Insurance, The Wharton Collection and many other corporate and private collections both in the USA, Europe and Asia.

Brummett has been honored as one of the best photographers in America in the hardbound annual American Photography #11, #12 #23 and #28. In 2004 the International Photography Awards honored him for his Deserts series and in 2008 the World Photography Awards in Cannes, France honored his Animalis series. Brummett’s studio is in Philadelphia, PA USA.


Animalis is the latin word meaning, "to have breath" and is the word from which we get the English word animal. With these images my intent is to show that by manipulating the film grain via bleaches and multiple development baths, with brushes and toners I can achieve a type of mark that is unique in the history of art. My goal is to link the world of drawing
and the world of photography in these images. I want them to be part document, part cave drawing and part dream. In the best of these images I want the viewer to be able to draw a visual link from the first marks made by humans to the dawn of photographic representation. As in all my work I am in effect attempting to mine the spaces that exist between photography, drawing, science and religion.

Desert Series

“…In all his works the artist depicts various stages of organic life forms and plants using different highly specialized printing techniques in order to create images in which he transcends the "realistic" observation of nature into dreamlike images of high aesthetic quality.

The so called "Desert Series" has been realised in a journey by the artist to a desert in Arizona. While photographing in the natural landscape, Brummett puts single objects like cactuses, flowers and tress, into view. Hethus creates a surreal atmosphere - never revealing the landscape as a whole - in order to initialise the viewer's own imagination. As he puts it:

"I have moved from a dialog of reproduction, observation and scale to a conversation about nature, technology and memory; the act of acute observation as it pertains to science and religion, the historical notion of an 'object of wonder' along with the development of a personal natural history 'collection' or 'cabinet'. What I am now attempting is to try to mine the areas where these concerns and ideas overlap. () I collect these natural objects and photograph them in such a way as to turn them into a type of cultural memory. By finishing them as Iris prints I hope to add a final layer of meaning" (Brummett)

In the series titled "Re-Thinking the Natural " which relates also to the above stated ideals, Brummett concentrates on single flowers and fruits using a restrained palette of brown and earth like tones. The stippled surface of the Iris prints used here adds to the otherworldliness in which the simple subject is imbued. Taking the objects out of their natural context, the artist creates images of high beauty with a floating, dreamlike atmosphere, a "memory space" which rises questions about the passing of time and the vanity of life.

Thomas Brummett, born in the United States in 1955 and working as a photographer since 1983, has widely shown in galleries and museums all over the United States. His work has been collected in numerous American private and public collections including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston Thomas Brummett lives and works in Philadelphia.”

Galerie Karsten Greve , März 2003

Books about Thomas' work

Museum Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern, Germany, Exhibition and catalog an essay titled,  a kind of visual trap," Photographs by Thomas Brummett by Dr. Ariane Mensger
Speak for the Trees, Artists who work with Tree Imagery, published by Marquand Books, Fall/2009

Thomas Brummetts work in Museums and Collections

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Cranbrook Museum of Fine Art
Museum of Modern Art Rio de Janeiro
The Silverman Collection, Detroit, Michigan.
Willmington Trust Collection, Wilmington, Delaware
Dechertt, Price & Rhoads Collection, Philadelphia
Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley Collection, Philadelphia
Klehr, Harrison, Harvey, Branzburg & Ellers Collection, Philadelphia
The Cranbrook Academy Museum and Library, Bloomfield Hills, Mi.
AAA Collection, Philadlephia,
Collection of Senator Arlen Spector
Joaquim Paiva / Brazil
AXA Insurance / Belgium