Skip to content

Press Release

Primal Images: Lumen Prints from the Amazon

June 25 through August 20, 2005
Reception for the Artist, Saturday, June 25, 2 - 5 p.m.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present the innovative work of photographer Jerry Burchfield. Traveling to the rainforest of the Amazon for the past 7 years, Burchfield has been making photograms or "lumen prints" as he calls them, of the native flora. He places plant specimens onto black and white photographic paper and relies on the interaction of sunlight, weather, temperature, and the plant's natural moisture to produce supernatural images. Created entirely on location in a primitive manner with no additives, the only darkroom process involved is chemically fixing the print to keep it from becoming overexposed and gradually turning black. Each image is unique, mysterious with dynamic ranges in tones and colors. Burchfield, a photographer of 30 years explains, "Even more than conventional photography, which after a time offered less of a challenge, making the lumen prints sharpened my sense of line, color and design."

Burchfield's lumen prints are reminiscent of photography's early cameraless beginnings. They follow a tradition of botanical subject matter that began in the early 19th century with Henry Fox Talbot's photogenic drawings of plant materials and Anna Atkin's cameraless botanical studies of British Algae. Burchfield' s images run the gamut of photography's history, from early experimentations to conceptual and abstract representation. Tim Wride, former Associate Curator of Photography at LACMA says of Burchfield's work, "there is a reverence in these photograms that moves them beyond the decorative, outside the scientific, and above the formal."

For Burchfield, the exploration of the Amazon rainforest is just a further extension of his long admiration and respect for the environment and our relationship to it. Burchfield explains that the "chance element" from which the work results allows him to "create images that are free of inherent bias and commentary while still expressing ecological concerns by drawing attention to the beauty of the place."

Jerry Burchfield has exhibited in numerous museums and galleries, both nationally and internationally, and his work is part of the collections of LACMA, Laguna Art Museum, San Diego's Museum of Photographic Arts, New York's George Eastman House and Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris to name a few.

Press images are available by request.

Gallery Hours - Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm.