Jerry Burchfield, Gifted Artist & Educator Dies at 62

Chinense do cheiro © Jerry Burchfield
Chinense do cheiro © Jerry Burchfield

Jerry Burchfield died on Sept. 11, 2009 surrounded by family after a long battle with colon cancer.
I first saw Jerry’s work at the Fahey Klein Gallery in Los Angeles. On view was his work “Amazonas” – a set of lumen prints he made while in the Amazon. They were so beautiful and unlike anything I had ever seen in  contemporary photography at the time. Like a memory from the past referencing the historical, simple and direct process of cyanotype or “sun printing” his  process called “lumen printing” occurs when organic object meets film or paper for several hours, is in left the sun and then is processed in fixer or toner. I was immediately intrigued. Today – I show Jerry’s work in my Digital Alternatives class and my students practice the art of lumen printing. He inspired me and continues to inspire them. (See Student Spotlight Claudia Wornum)

I heard Jerry speak at Orange Coast College in 2006 when he received the Honored Educator Award  from SPE WEST. He was gracious in sharing his knowledge, passion and experiences with is colleagues. He was clearly loved by his students and community. He and his contributions will be missed.

In his own words:

“My medium is light and photography is my primary tool of expression. Known as a conceptually oriented artist/activist, my work is environment responsive and about change, natural process, interaction, physical connections, and evolves through what I call ‘orchestrated chance.’

“I use traditional and alternative applications of photography, light painting, performance, video, evolving installations, extended documentations, and dedicate myself to long-term projects in an ongoing effort to make work that documents change over time, creates an awareness of natural beauty, and addresses humanities teetering relationship with nature.”

Burchfield’s work has received numerous awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and has been exhibited throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. Read the full story in the Coastline Pilot:

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