photo by James M. Burk, 2002
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About Jeff Burk
I grew up in Oklahoma City and Columbia, Missouri. With the steady encouragement of my parents, both of whom were musicians and teachers, I was drawn to the arts at an early age. I've tried my hand at drawing, painting and music with some success. Ultimately I found my muse in photography, although I have sidetracked back into musical pursuits on occasion.
My first course in the field was as a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. I went on to major in photography and received my BFA and MFA degrees at the Kansas City Art Institute and Indiana University, respectively. My intention was to become a college level instructor. But I found myself following a technical path as a high-end black and white darkroom printer in Chicago and later, overseeing operations from management positions. My last full-time position was as manager of the photography facilities at the College of DuPage which I did for 11 years. While there, I was able to teach a few courses in advanced black and white techniques. A number of issues led to my early retirement in 2013.
I am a product of my schooling in the mid-70's and mid-80's: New Topographics to Conceptual Photography to Post-Modernism. My visual memory is filled with images from throughout the history of photography and painting, so it follows that my own pictures are informed by them. Successful pictures manage to combine some parts of all my influences and interests.
I like to think that my pictures do not strictly fit into any one category or genre. At first look, they may appear to be simple documents. But many include elements of symbolism, metaphor, autobiography and homage, as well as broader concepts such as environmentalism, religion and politics. I expect a viewer to look beyond the surface and find other levels of meaning. Groups of images can help provide a context where each image can inform another. In the near future, I plan to collect specific sequences within the pages of self-published monographs. The first of these is a Blurb book called, "Quiet Places."
About the Galleries
The Oklahoma Gallery is my most recent work from many road trips in the state.
The Color, Rural and Urban Galleries are broad categories that show a variety of the types of photographs I make, yet sequenced to give an overall impression.
Sense of Place is a link to a walk-through video of an overview exhibit in 2015.
The Quiet Places Gallery is a smaller and resequenced group from the book.
The Coney Island Gallery is an early selection from an ongoing series.
The Pursuit of Happiness Gallery is a selection from a finished series.
The Diptych Gallery contains recent experiments with pairing images.
Curriculum Vitae (click for complete CV PDF)
2006 Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, New York. “Series and Sequence by Nathan Lyons”
2015 Sense of Place. Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Selected Group Exhibitions
2017 Disappearing World. Edition One Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Books (Self Published)
Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri