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”
1986     Indiana University, Bloomington. MFA in Photography
1979     Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri. BFA In Photography; Griffiths Award In Photography
1974     Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan. Diploma In Photography, Painting, And Music

Solo Exhibitions

2015     Sense of Place. Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, Missouri
2011     Featured Artist series: OnView Gallery, Park Ridge, Illinois
2010     Quiet Places: Selections series and There’s Only So Much Oil In the Ground series. College of DuPage Library, Glen Ellyn, Illinois
             Quiet Places: Selections. Calmer House Gallery, Joliet, Illinois
2008     Quiet Places. Brickton Art Center, Park Ridge, Illinois
                    Review: Myrna Petlicki, Park Ridge Herald-Advocate. June 5, 2008, B3
1997     Structure. Northside Cafe, Chicago
1989     In Pursuit of Happiness. Rainbo Club, Chicago

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017     Disappearing World. Edition One Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
             Wonderland Remains: Four Views (Recent Photography by four alumni of the Kansas City Art Institute). Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, Kansas City, Missouri.
                    Curator: Ken Burkhart
             Sense of Place: Kansas City Society for Contemporary Photography. Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art, St. Joseph, Missouri
2016     Current Works from the Kansas City Society for Contemporary Photography. Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, Missouri
             The World We Made. Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery, St. Louis Community College at Meramec, Kirkwood, Missouri. Curator: David R. Hanlon
             Kansas City Flatfile. H&R Bloch Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, Missouri
2015     Current Works from the Kansas City Society for Contemporary Photography. Haw Contemporary, Kansas City, Missouri. Juror: Jan Schall
2014     PhotoMidwest Invitational. PhotoMidwest Studio, Madison, Wisconsin
2013     Time. Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography, Detroit, Michigan. Juror: Bill Schwab
2012     Midwest Society for Photographic Education Regional Conference Members’ Show.
                    The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, Kentucky
             Black & White: A Picture Show. Black Box Gallery, Portland, Oregon. Juror: Julia Dolan
             50th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition. Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen, Michigan
             Lens 2012. Perspective Gallery, Evanston, Illinois. Juror: Catherine Edelman
             San Francisco International Photography Exhibition. Gallery Photographica at Michelle O’Connor Gallery, San Francisco.
                    Juror: Jeff Curto
2011     Landscape. OnView Gallery, Park Ridge, Illinois
             Art in Your Eye. City Hall, Batavia, Illinois
2008     Coalition of Photographic Arts’ 2nd Annual Juried Exhibition. Walker Point Center for the Arts, Milwaukee. Juror: George Slade
             Please Ring Bell. Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle. Juror: Rod Slemmons
             Strictly Black and White. Mana Gallery, Chicago
2007     Organizer, curator, exhibitor. Continuum: KCAI Alumni Photography: New Work by Graduates from 1975–1979.
                    Cross Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri
2006     Foto-Work. Orleans Street Gallery, St. Charles, Illinois
2005     Adjunct Faculty Group Exhibition. Gahlburg Gallery, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Illinois
1994     Group exhibition. Ukranian Museum of Art, Chicago
1985     MFA Thesis Exhibition. Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington
1984     Alumni exhibition. Artspace, Interlochen Arts Academy, Michigan
             Photographer’s Books. Fine Arts Library, Indiana University
1983     Group exhibition. Ferguson Center Gallery, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
             Group exhibition. Experimental Gallery, Wright State University, Dayton
1981     Two-person exhibition. Club Soda, New York City
1979     BFA group exhibition. Kemper Gallery, Kansas City Art Institute
1978     Two-person exhibition. Lawrence Gallery, Kansas City, Missouri


Books (Self Published)
Quiet Places (, 2010): 49 black-and-white reproductions. See it at

Books (Reproductions)
Jay Sanders and J. Hoberman. Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama - Manhattan, 1970-1980.
             New Haven: Yale University Press for the Whitney Museum of American Art, 2013: 119

Periodicals (Reproductions)
Arboretum. Downtown Auroran Fall-Winter 2012-2013: 12
Rogers Street. The Photo Review, 8:4 (Fall 1985): 41. Juror: Larry Fink
Review: Douglas Davis. “Young Fingers on the Button,” Newsweek On Campus, October, 1984: 34–39
Missouri. Pace (Indiana University Journalism Department publication 1:1) November 1982: 5–6


Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri
Indie Photobook Library, Washington, D.C.
Nathan Lyons, David Plowden, Jeff Wolin, Jeff Curto, Dave Jordano, Russell Phillips, Chuck Avery, and other private collections

click for full CV PDF