After Jerry Burchfield was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2007, I requested an interview to discuss his love for photography and involvement with BC Space Gallery in Laguna Beach.
Shortly after Jerry passed away on September 11, 2009, I wrote a blog page about his passion for photography, association with BC Space partner, Mark Chamberlain, and their combined mission at the gallery. Several dozen readers have added their comments (below).
I have re-written this blog page, now a web page, to pay homage to Jerry’s extraordinary work and courage as an artist.
Environmental and Conceptual Work
Jerry Burchfield's 40 years of work included environmental pieces that documented changes to the land over time, created awareness of natural beauty, and addressed our tenuous relationship with nature. He also delved into conceptual works where the concepts and ideas are more important than aesthetic qualities or materials. Over the years, he encouraged many of his students to do the same.
In the 1970’s, BC Space had two darkrooms to print in black and white and in color. At first, the gallery used an early Cibachrome print processor, then later a high-end machine to create color images with vibrancy and archival qualities to meet museum standards.
Jerry's intensive work with Cibachrome for BC clients inspired him to investigate color in his own artworks. "I started making camera-less color images called 'photograms' to learn more about color and about my own aesthetic sensibilities," he explained. "These prints resulted in my first solo museum exhibition at the Laguna Art Museum in 1974."
His earliest photograms, made with chromogenic (color negative) print materials, employed photo paper exposed to the primary colors of light. They incorporated multiple exposures, movement and the effects of chemicals from organic materials in contact with the color paper over long periods of time.
Jerry's work with photograms led naturally to his Lumen Prints that he calls "Primal Images" and "Understory" prints. These fossil-like works, documenting plant life in Amazon rainforests and in Florida’s tropical environs, celebrate the natural beauty of nature, while alluding to the losses that wilderness areas face.
To create these images, Jerry placed plant material directly onto black and white photographic paper, then let sunlight, rain, fluctuating temperatures and the plant’s own chemistry interact through prolonged exposures. No chemicals were used.
The combination of natural plant life in its unadulterated condition, tropical colors, muted backgrounds and dissolving borders of the plant life helped create works that are reminiscent of Impressionist still lifes, while celebrating our vanishing natural environment.
Jerry's Life’s Work
"My work is about change. Light is my primary medium and my tool of choice is photography. I utilize traditional, alternative, and digital photography along with video, light painting, cameraless techniques, constructions, and evolving, interactive performances and installations," Jerry Burchfield explained.
"I generally work with long-term projects that allow me to explore change over time and often tread a thin line between documentation and personal reflections. The method and materials that I use depend upon the nature of the project and I have never felt bound by a particular way of work or narrow definitions of photography and art."
Or as Mark Chamberlain wrote in the Laguna Beach Independent, "I would like to think that Jerry's spirit is still moving toward the light and will continue to illuminate the path we might follow."
Jerry Burchfield’s "Primal Images" and "Understory" prints have been featured in numerous exhibitions nationwide and in two books. Read more at jerryburchfield.com.
See also Laguna Canyon Project page.
Comments for Jerry Burchfield
At the beginning
by: Jim Tetro
I knew Jerry Burchfield when he and Mark Chamberlain started BC Space back in the early 1970's. I was just beginning my adventure with photography and during that time Jerry was a friend and an inspiration. He was always thinking outside the box and would continually come up with new and different ways of using photographic materials. He was tireless and inventive. I worked in their darkroom for awhile and discovered that he put in countless hours after the work of BC lab was completed. I still remember one of his early cibachrome photograms where he had placed oranges on the paper and let the acid do its work. He then processed the paper and came up with an amazing image. I left California in the late 70's but his inspiration, guidance and friendship has stayed with me all my life. We had been in touch just a few years ago, thanks to the internet. It was wonderful to hear from him again. The news of his passing only reached me when I had told Mark Chamberlain that I might be in LA this Spring and would like to see the two of them again. Goodbye, Jerry.
A Rare and Marvelous Artist Person
by: Rena Small
Jerry Burchfield was one of the most exciting artists who happened to use the medium of photography in ways that were natural. He was very supportive of my work over the decades and gave me a one person show of my Artists' Hands without question. Jerry was a true comrade in the arts. I am proud that I was able to collaborate with Jerry and he participated in my Artists' Hands series. That day, he and I decided the natural thing to do would be to document Jerry making a photogram outside with his hands, and he was generous to give me the result to include with the portrait of his hands. Also, I could not resist and asked Jerry to hold one of his favored leafs from his garden in Orange, CA. He held that leaf in the palms of his hands so gently. He was a gentle man and I will miss him. I look forward to seeing him again in hand heaven.
by: Brian Doan
Like dew drops
on a lotus leaf
At sunset, in one timeless moment the sun disappeared, casting a bright magenta spectrum that echoed throughout the sky. It was October 4th; I remember it being another beautiful day at Laguna Beach. A few hours before, I was walking with my college classmate Glenn and his wife Karen; they had pointed to a spot on the hillside where they had camped in the late 1960’s. “It’s funny because it’s now a cop station” said Glenn, chuckling about his hippie heydays. We then stopped talking and walking and looked further down beyond the hill, into the Laguna canyon. It was there in 1989 that I remember seeing the image of Jerry Burchfield and Mark Chamberlain as they were shooting their photo mural project "The Tell”. The canyon was covered in a mixture of orange and opiate now; fall began its habitual color only a few weeks earlier. We continued walking this path toward Jerry’s memorial service. As my first photography teacher, Jerry had challenged me to bypass my flirtation with poetry and painting. Through his persistence and guidance, I would eventually fall in love with the art of drawing with light.
As the sun projected its last ray, the air was broken with the applause from a group of people standing on the Hotel Laguna’s deck. Those people were Jerry’s family, colleagues and students. Present, was his wife Barbara, married for 41 years, she recalled countless times with her husband, noting that his favorite time was at sunset. I was there, among them, mourning the loss of a mentor and friend, while celebrating the precious moment of twilight.
At 6:44 pm, the sun vanished. I left the deck and walked back to my car. While trying to remember where I parked it, I started to feel elated, a sense of happiness for being a photographer. I found myself looking down into the canyon and whispering and quietly thanking those masters who created this art known as photography. I feel so lucky and proud to walk the same path.
October 11, 2009
Jerry was a great influence for me
Sad to hear about Jerry's passing, he was a great teacher at Cypress, always looked forward to taking his classes and hearing him talk.
Such a Good Life!
by: Rita Dibert
It is always sad when someone who has touched your life, even briefly, passes. But I am sure that there are throngs of people who would state that their brief or long-term encounter with Jerry was a special high point. I first met Jerry at BC space in the 80's when, as a newcomer to California teaching at Pomona Collage, I was desperately trying to figure out the exhibition world. He was open, enchanting and a great person. Not to mention that he was the best Ciba printer I have ever encountered. It's always a shocker when a contemporary dies, but such a waste when it is someone who had so much to give the world. That he moved to teaching seemed just perfect! My warm condolences to Mark and his wife who both must be wondering just what to do with themselves even now. Gone but definitely not forgotten. Watch over us with your special vision Jerry!
See You On The Other Side, Jerry
by: Mick Stonehenge
Thank you, Jerry.
Thank you for seeing the artist in me when everyone else (myself included) only saw the commercial photographer.
Thank you for the guidance & Re-Direction that put me on the path I find myself on today.
Thank you for going to bat for me at such great personal risk to yourself.
Thank you for the enlightenment
Thank you for the gallery tours
Thank you for the education
Thank you for the parties
Thank you for the warmth
Thank you for the humor
Thank you for everything.
And if Jerry Burchfield isn't one of the 5 people I meet in Heaven, God and I are gonna have words!
YOU ARE APPRECIATED
We did not know Jerry Burchfield personally, however, his name was not unknown in our household. My husband mentioned him frequently saying, Joyce this man has found a new dimension in Fine Art,and he was absolutely correct. Jerry has inspired my husband to advance himself in the world of photography. And for that alone I'am thankful. Thank you God, for allowing us to be able to share the memories of your magnificent creation and being of Jerry Burchfield. May Your blessings continually surround the Burchfield family.
M.T Collins and
by: Liz Goldner
A daylong memorial service was held for Jerry on Sunday, October 4th. It started at 2 PM at the Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church. Susan Chamberlain, Mark Chamberlain’s former wife and an ordained minister, officiated the hour-long service. As expected, the church was packed with Southern California artists and supporters, a large assemblage of people who don’t often see so many of each other at one time. It seems to take events like these to bring so many kindred souls together.
The service was followed by two receptions, the first at BC Space, down the street on Forest Ave. Within minutes of opening the door, the nearly 3,000 square foot gallery studio – that Jerry co-managed with Mark for several years – was packed with people. Mark had just hung a show of Jerry’s works there, an impressive and magnificent array of images, most of them related to Jerry’s passion for preserving the environment.
All afternoon, until after 8 PM, a reception was also held for Jerry at the Hotel Laguna, down the street on Pacific Coast Highway. The entire back of the reception area was glass, looking out at the Pacific Ocean and the sunset. Throughout the day, I witnessed a mostly celebratory mood – a celebration of Jerry’s passions for life and art.
Of course, the next morning, reality was beginning to set in and people were starting the mourning process in earnest. As I said to one person, Jerry is still with us and always will be. I recalled that the works of great artists carry within them the energy of the people who made them. I brought up the magnificent collection of Impressionist and Post Impressionist art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum. Every time I enter those galleries, I feel the energy of the artists, who have been deceased for decades, in some cases nearly a century.
Perhaps creating art – that all of us have the ability to do, whether we realize it or not – is our way of creating our own immortality, as well as giving so much value to the world.
Thank you for the biggest negative I ever saw!
by: Lisette Kennedy
In August 2002 I was invited to participate in the pumping of fixer onto the largest negative ever made by The Legacy Project. I will never forget the amazing experience!
A Strange Coincidence
by: Mary R Mortimer
I received a copy of the October 2009 edition of Black + White Photography around the time that, unknown to me, Mr. Burchfield passed away. I was intrigued by an article about Lumen Printing and a reference to "the Master of Technique - Jerry Burchfield", whom I had not come across before. I was so inspired that I spent the whole of September making lumen prints of flowers, leaves and feathers with great success and was overwhelmed by their beauty and the process of the traditional printing method. This morning I checked Mr. Burchfield's website again to gain further inspiration and was saddened to see the notice that he had passed away. What fortune to have received the magazine in London and that I could benefit from and be inspired by his marvellous work.
One of Many
by: Eric Book
I am one of many. One in a sea of faces to pass by Jerry Burchfield. In 2005 I met Jerry as a returning student at Cypress College. I was fortunate to take a photography 101 class with Jerry. Though it was a struggle and I blow to my ego to have to start at the beginning, Jerry was quick to notice me and my work. At that time I had been a part-time, "amateur" photographer for nearly 20 years. Jerry admired my portfolio and asked me to bring in anything I wanted to show him. I showed him about 200 photos and was so excited that Jerry Burchfield liked my photos. I didn’t know at the time but Jerry had other ideas for me. He saw something in what I was doing and knew I could do more. I was not a nature photographer, or an activist, or anything remotely similar in style to Jerry. He saw a potential in me as a person and knew there was more inside of me.
He took someone who "took" pictures and opened my eyes to making photographs, history, a story of that moment in time. Jerry became my mentor. I knew little about him at the time but he changed my life in more ways than just photography. He had a way of freeing ones head and breaking the chains that keep us moving in a single direction. Jerry's constant smile and humble ways made me feel free to experiment and ask for guidance. We spent many hours just talking about life and what it meant to have the power to stop time. He instilled in me the responsibility I had when used the camera and the confidence that removed all stress to take chances. Jerry was always available and kind, nurturing and encouraging.
I found out later that I was one of many that Jerry gave the same attention too. That is amazing. I was one of many yet one of a kind. I knew Jerry for 3 years and he changed my life. I can’t begin to imagine how Jerry has changed the world. What an amazing man.
A great loss to all of us
by: Janice Tieken
I met Jerry at a photo meeting in which he showed his incredible series on plant life from the Amazon. The work begs for words of praise that simply cannot be found. In a world where shoes are called 'fabulous' and mascara can be described as 'amazing', how can I describe these ethereal and stunning images, and the story of how he made them with all the extraordinary effort required. In the truest sense this was awesome, another over-used word.
Jerry invited me to have a solo show at Cypress which was a tremendous gift to me and made it possible for me to also win a Durfee ARC grant. That someone of his caliber would find merit in my art was a great tribute and I am forever grateful. He also made it possible for me to have other of my work be included in socio-politically conscious shows put on by Mark Chamberlain at bcspace gallery.
I think we met in person no more than 5 or 6 times overall but his gentle demeanor and kindness were evident to me each time. I did not get to know him personally or well but had the highest regard for him as a person and fine artist. Each time I see another new (to me) piece he has made, I am impressed yet again.
I resonate with so much of his work for in my own way I speak to the same issues and subjects using similar means and media. But the monumental quality eludes my grasp, will undoubtedly always do so, and I can only marvel at what he achieved.
We can't afford to lose artists like Jerry who try to illuminate for us, with stellar aesthetics, what many may not have seen or wanted to see. He tackled all the issues that matter to all of us. His was not a body of work looking to hang in the CEO's living room; it was to make a statement about us and about what we have done and are still doing and not giving enough attention to.
He told me at his show at the Fahey/Klein gallery on La Brea, his ‘road-kill’ pieces were considered not sell-able, consequently not show-able. One of these, the coyote, is an image I can never forget, along with many others. He made work without concern for sales, but for message, and aesthetically fine in the results.
There aren't enough artists whose work addresses our fickleness, foibles or small and large crimes with such honesty and beauty besides. Even fewer address these issues in such a monumental fashion.
I am truly saddened he is gone, for all of us, and personally it is my own loss that I won't have a chance to know him better personally. Thankfully, his work is available for us to find and visit on the internet; he left us something that will endure. And continue to inspire.
An Outstanding Artist and Compassionate Man
by: James Hugunin
It is with sadness I heard of Jerry's passing. I always found his artwork cutting edge, his personality warm and inviting.
I once devoted a complete issue of our L.A. based art journal, U-Turn, to one of Jerry and Mark's collaborations back in the early 1980s. Then I moved to Chicago in 1985, and lost touch. Ever since have missed his company.
My deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
Jim Hugunin, Chicago
by: Marsha Adams
DEAR JERRY -
It's a sad time in this tightly knit Photo Community we have known.
What a blessing to be interwoven with so many,
through our work, professions & close friends.
Your passing is felt widely, and our love and thoughts are with you
as you transition through this unknown journey.
I've had a good long cry this morning & I'm sure there will be more, but...
what I see is your face lit up with that perpetual smile of yours -
your entire face smiling.
Within all the Photo Biz and exchanges... it was
that inner glow you could feel through your smile that was my primary
experience in being with you.
I'm on my way to Orange County soon and was hoping to see YOU.
I'm saddened to have that cut short, but I feel YOU deeply and the Joy
you continually spread throughout your interactions with so many others,
and of course your work...
My deepest sympathies go to your family.
You will be greatly missed by many.
Good-Bye Good Friend,
M a r s h a
creative and generous
by: Bill Westheimer
I’ll remember Jerry as an incredibly imaginative and creative artist, a generous and insightful mentor and educator, and a dedicated activist who took action to make his Southern California community a better place.
Jerry was a mentor to me beginning in the mid-1980’s when I took his Cibachrome printing workshop in Breckenridge, CO. I learned how to make color prints, but more importantly I learned about what it means to be an artist. He taught us how to make camera-less color photograms, and I’ve been hooked on photogramming ever since. His generosity with his knowledge and his excitement about being a creative artist was a magnificent gift.
Over the years his many projects inspired me and many others to never be afraid to try new things, to always work to make our community a better place, and most importantly to share or techniques and knowledge with others.
Jerry made great art, from his projects with Mark Chamberlain documenting and helping to save Laguna Canyon to his Amazon Lumen prints to his dedication to the The Legacy Project: The El Toro/Orange County Great Park to his Exotics series. The depth and quality of his work is astounding.
Thank you Jerry.
Goodbye Jerry, beautiful artist
by: Charlene Knowlton
I first met Jerry in 1989 in preparation for ENLARGING THE REPERTOIRE at the Long Beach Museum of Art He was a very nice guy, kind and easy to work with. Jerry's artwork has stayed in my head and heart over all these years because it was so infused with light, introspection and emotive mindwalks. His vision was unique. We all lost a really good artist this time. My thoughts are with all of his family and friends.
Thank You, Jerry
by: Gene Davila
In the early 1980's I was fortunate to spend some time with Jerry at the Newport School of Photography. I remember his generosity and compassion as I struggled to let go of control and find my inner eye. He taught me that the image doesn’t come from the camera but from the heart. I particularly remember a photographic field trip to the Kern River where we were introduced to his beautiful wife Barbara. I learned this: to never deny the visual world around me as an aspect of myself and to capture it by any means I can. Thank you Jerry, teacher, mentor and friend. Lastly, the joy of being a visual artist rest in the knowledge that while the human body is finite the art we have created lives on for others to enjoy. Never forgotten.
Dear Barbara and Brian
by: Susie Simmons
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal."
(found written on a Irish Tombstone.
I am not a photographer but I love the magic of the camera.
The magic Jerry performed was crazy, beautiful, bizarre and fun. I was the Division Manager at Cypress College for many years, now retired, and the Photography Department was absolutely the best. Jerry dreamed and created projects that only he could pull together in a manner that made all of us work together to prove his goal would be worthy of a grand applause. I was fortunate to have played a small part.
Barbara, Brian, the Burchfield family, colleagues, friends, students and all who loved and respected Jerry, I mourn with you.
Thank you Jerry
by: David Levy
It was the spring semester 1983 at Saddleback college when I first met my good friend and mentor Jerry Burchfield. It was a meeting that would start a working relationship that lasted over 7 years, and a friendship that I will treasure forever.
It became immediately evident to me that Jerry was not an ordinary teacher, he wasn’t an ordinary person at all. Within the first week of the course, he dispensed with most of the technical terminology used in most other courses I had taken and started saying things like "You need to get a feeling for color", "use passion in your printing", "It's about making pictures", "painting with light". These simple and powerful words have resonated with me throughout my career. Jerry and I spoke about my interest in creating conceptual photographic projects and subsequently he invited me to the gallery and lab he ran with his partner Mark Chamberlain.
That summer, I was offered a job working with Jerry and Mark at BC Space. I would assist in the lab and studio, printing black and white and Cibachrome for their clients. I was immediately exposed to a new world of conceptual photography and had the opportunity to not only meet such extraordinary artists as Robert Heineken, Patrick Nagatani, Kenda North, Suda House, Jim Stone, Allan Sekula, and so many others, but to assist in the production of Cibachrome prints that would be used for their exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. Additionally, I worked alongside Jerry as he produced one-of-a-kind light paintings, artists portraits, and massive photograms of found objects from excursions into Laguna Canyon. He even extended his work to his family. When his son Brian was born, Jerry brought him into the darkroom and photogrammed him. He is the only guy I know who painted his kid with light. There were many projects over the years, all inspiring, all produced with the same passion and feeling that Jerry evangelized during his teaching career.
It was always about the art of making pictures, about visual literacy and education. His passion, not just for photography, but the entire process of creating artistic imagery and its powerful possibility to alter our perceptions were in my opinion unmatched. Jerry instilled in everyone he met a sense of possibility. He always made time for his students and interested questioners regardless of their level of expertise. He was the guru, the oracle, a genius, the great networker of the Southern California photographic scene.
He was a prolific artist and incredibly generous person. For those years we spent (mostly in the dark) Jerry was my guide, my mentor, my friend. He always told me to "Chase the light" and I am sure without question that he’s found the pure source and is basking in all its wonder and beauty. Rest in peace my dear friend.
In Loving Remembrance
by: Ruth and Sandy Sandoval
As Jerry's Aunt and Uncle, we knew Jerry as a respected, loving, thoughtful family member. We attended many of his art exhibits, enjoyed many of his books and paintings.
But above all we appreciated and enjoyed him, his friendly nature, always interested in what you were saying. He was always a gentleman and always available to help. Yes, Jerry will always be remembered for his compassion and thoughtfulness. Our hearts and prayers go out to Barbara and Brian.
Love, Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Sandy
by: Roger Weik
Although I never met Jerry personally, he photographed my first announcement of one of my works for my first Solo Exhibition in Newport Beach when I moved to California in 1980 from St. Louis.
My wife and I also heard him and Mark speak at Chapman College one evening about their work together and projects.
A huge loss to the Art Community and will be dearly missed.
by: Greg Benoit
Some people change your life so profoundly that they live with you always...in your creative thoughts, the art on your walls and the joy only a true friend helps you feel. Jerry was all of that. He opened so many doors for me as a friend in college, as one of his early students and later as a photo instructor myself. Myself and many of my students benefited from taking an in depth look at Jerry the person, the artist... someone who values commitment to a cause and uses his photography skills and ideas to help raise awareness about those things in which he believes.
I know now that each time i walk into a room and see his work on my walls there will also be an image of him laughing and smiling the one we all know.
It was a privilege to have lived along side someone who through humility and kindness sent off so many now motivated and grateful.
Master of Light
by: Michael Weschler
It was only a few weeks ago that I visited Jerry at home, while he was recovering from a chemo treatment, and I sensed his pain, but still believed that he would pull through.
Jerry had a profound influence on me as a teacher, mentor, and eventually, close friend of 20 years. He taught me many things on how to see, and how to be, well beyond any teacher I've ever had.
After taking a summer off from studying architecture in Miami, I decided to study Fine Art & eventually Fine Art Photography with Jerry and his colleagues at CSULB & CSUF, always taking extra classes with Jerry at Cypress College. Once I committed to this process, there was little support from family, but I followed my passion, and Jerry always inspired me to stick with it, eventually introducing me to his business partner, Mark Chamberlain. This quickly led to an internship at BC Space in Laguna Beach and I worked there for a few years, gaining a tremendous amount of knowledge about the art world and archival printing in black and white & Cibachrome. Often times, I was Jerry's assistant for many of his projects, exhibitions, performances, etc., documenting his work with stills and video. He also introduced me to an incredible array of artists, curators, and educators, exposing me to the art world from the inside.
His method of teaching & inspiring his students was bold to me. He always wanted us to learn by doing, and find our own voice, because he felt that techniques could be taught to anyone, but beyond the textbooks, and the lectures, you need to express an image in your own way. It's been a wondrous exploration into Fine Art Photography with Jerry as my guide. The opportunity to travel with him to The Amazon and help with his Lumen Prints series was also a tremendously rewarding three-week journey.
Jerry always provoked us to think and feel something with his artwork. Sometimes controversial, but never cliché, he refused to use a technique simply as a gimmick, and expressed himself quite eloquently on many issues, such as man's impact on the environment. As a pioneer of "light painting", Jerry found extraordinary colors and depth in his Photogram work. Jerry's light continues to shine and like a Master, we are still learning from him and his wisdom, artistic sensitivity, insightful wit, unexpected humor, disciplined thoroughness, and tenacious search for awareness...
The Insane Road From Here to Eternity
by: Eadweard r. York
Maybe they have the internet where your at now, maybe they haven’t gotten it yet, but either way you touched the lives of a lot of photographers in Southern California and throughout the world with your experimental work. When I was younger I had seen your work in a few magazines and at some exhibitions. I had always admired your work and consider it a blessing, and an honor to have met you through Mark Chamberlain, and exhibited with both of you at the BC Space.
What you, and Mark have done for the Laguna Beach Art Scene has resonated throughout all of Southern California, and I want to thank you.
That which is gone...
by: Stephen Gillette
That which is gone is not the essence of Jerry. The easy smile, the gentle voice, the boyish twinkle in the eye. The husband, the father. The educator, the mentor, the friend, the artist, the concerned citizen.
The essence that we all felt and now celebrate was and is something apart from all those roles, missions and descriptions.
Our connection with that essence will persist, thankfully.
One of the Best from a fellow art admirer
by: Dori Rhodes
My name is Dori Rhodes. I was the Curator of Exhibitions for the Irvine Fine Arts Center from 1983 to 1998. During that time (starting 1984), I collaborated with Jerry/BC Space on countywide exhibitions and showed his work at the Fine Arts Center. From this extensive perspective, I can say that Jerry was simply the best and a humble, yet persistent hero of the arts in Orange County and beyond.
I was shocked to see the obit column and I wanted to say a few words that can in no one encompass this man's greatness. Jerry represents decades of art development in this area, providing opportunities and encouragement to artists to creative freely - without fear of repression. Jerry. along with his business partner Mark Chamberlain, lifted photography to a high level of art. He mentored young artists and served as a model to others by returning to school later in life to earn a Masters Degree.
Having been part of that development over those years myself, I can honestly say that there is not a single person of Jerry's caliber, humility and constancy who represents decades of our history as an artistic community. I have lost two other dear art friends in the past few years -- Roberta Eisenberg, Dori Dunlap Friedenrich, and now Jerry. With them goes something worth preserving of our mutual history in the region filtered through visionary artists and mentors.
Rest in Peace, Jerry. You touched my life in more ways than you know. Over all of these years, I have held a special place of respect and warmth for you and I never told you that. I hope you knew anyway.
With Kindest Regards,
Jerry was an artist's artist. There isn't an image that I have seen of his where I didn't feel his delicate passion for image color and recognition of the essence of his subject. His images are refined essence.
It is painful that we can not have him here for a little longer. This planet needs a presence like Jerry?s. He has had a positive impact on so many of us. We are fortunate that his traces will be around for a long time to come.
by: Ken Kleinberg
A loss so great as this
Our minds cannot dismiss
A man of depth and purpose
Too soon he has now left us
A life well-spent
by: Daniella Walsh
I feel privileged to have known Jerry and his exceptional work. His was a life spent in the service of creativity and of others via his long years of teaching. He leaves a legacy not only in his breathtaking photographs but in the countless students who benefitted from his talent and his humanity. My heart goes out to Barbara and Brian. My deepest condolences to them and all whose lives he touched.
Thank you Jerry
by: Andrea Harris
Meeting you and hearing your life story was a great experience for me. I will never forget your kindness and generosity. I have been going through your work and stories online as we prepare the BC Space exhibition and book. You created amazing work and I deeply respect what you accomplished. I am inspired as always by you and Mark. You will be missed and we will make you proud with this book and exhibition at GCAC next year. Another project in the list of the many accomplishments in your artistic life.
Thank you Liz and Mark. Thank you for creating this amazing website! Best to all who loved Jerry!
by: Pat Sparkuhl
As I look at Jerry's life as an adventurer, philosopher, educator, intellectual, and a giant among photographers, I have continually been impressed with his ability to look and 'see' those intimate images within the organic nature of life that are both captivating and inspirational, his interest in looking at the consequences of what society has created and exploring visual fields that suggested the atmospheres that once were, the exciting results of his experiments in the darkroom, and much more, all reflecting someone who pursued images never realized before. A magician, whose mixture of ingredients and vision resulted in truly personal expressions, he was one of the rare breed of explorers whose art will live on at many levels. I appreciate and respect Barbara's role in being so very generous in supporting the space Jerry required to pursue the depth of philosophical reflection in order to create the work that we have respected for all these years. Without her involvement in being in the background organizing life-style activities, I am keenly aware of how much more challenging his ability to spend time creating would have been. My heart goes out to you, Barbara. I personally feel privileged and honored to have known Jerry. Thank you for your contributions to the art world. Your thinking and the importance of your work will be topics of educational and aesthetic discussions for a long time to come.
My Brief Encounter With Jerry
by: M. Jones
I only met Jerry once toward the end of his journey. It was a dinner event held at Tivoli Restaurant in Laguna Beach where he was co-presenter with Mark Chamberlain. Jerry's cancer was already advanced at this point-in-time. He made only a casual reference to his condition and bravely downplayed it. I was informed and enlightened by their presentation and impressed by what the two men had accomplished during their 30 year association. The numerous comments on this page are testimony to the lives that were touched by this man. I followed his progress through a friend of a friend until he passed. I was privileged to have known this man if only for a brief while.
Jerry's untimely death from colon cancer
I was saddened to learn of Jerry's death. So many of our fine friends and good people are taken from us early by this disease.
It is our wish at the Colon Cancer Resource that everyone will take good care of their health and get screened on a regular basis.
You can learn more about colon cancer prevention by examining the simple, short essays at Colon Cancer Resource.
- Contemporary Art Trends - Contemporary art trends is an ever-evolving topic about art of the late 20th century and early 21st century. Artists’ works today are often hybrids of several styles including abstraction with figurative work; obscure references with blatant writings; symbolic narrative with bold splashes of color.
- Barbara White - Barbara White travels the world, creating pictures that express the beauty and diversity of our planet's cultures. Her tools are the camera, the magnificent worldwide scenes of people practicing their religions, the natural world and the multitude of plant species.
- Chitra Ramanathan - Chitra Ramanathan, an abstract artist, creates brightly colored paintings that evoke flowers blooming in the spring.
- Claudia Meyer - Claudia Meyer Monographie is a series of elegant, mostly abstract works, made from wood, Plexiglas, stainless steel, acrylic paint, precious stones and sand.
- Dennis McGonagle - Dennis McGonagle creates art murals inspired by a variety of 20th century art movements and artists, including George Bellows, John Sloan, the Ashcan School and American Scene paintings of Edward Hopper.
- Eadweard York - Eadweard York is a graffiti artist with deep roots. He has worked in the graffiti style nearly all of his life and professionally for more than 20 years. The formerly disenfranchised youth is creating significant art while transcending his personal demons.
- Ernie Gerzabek - Ernie Gerzabek's Abstract Landscape Paintings are inspired by the Australian topography, its wilderness regions, wetlands, virgin countryside, deserts and seashores.
- Jerry Burchfield - After Jerry Burchfield was diagnosed with colon cancer in late 2007, I requested an interview to discuss his love for photography and involvement with...
- Ken Auster - Ken Auster, Laguna Beach artist, paints expressive pictures of San Francisco.
- Leslie Davis - Worlds in Collision, an art exhibition, was created to draw attention to four illnesses. Through construction of dynamic metal and glass sculpture, glass artist Leslie Davis informs viewers about the gravity of four illnesses and about the pioneering scientists working on alternative cures.
- Mark Chamberlain - Mark Chamberlain is a fine art photographer, as well as an environmental, assemblage and performance artist. He owns BC Space Gallery, Laguna Beach, California
- Mary Aslin - Working in a centuries old classical style producing pastel art, Mary Aslin creates still life, figurative, and landscape paintings - artwork so luminous and lifelike, the viewer is treated to a rich visual experience where the play of light on the subject engages all of the senses.
- Michael Rosenblatt - Michael Rosenblatt’s pursuit as an artist - segueing between abstract art paintings and figurative work - is evident when viewing his hundreds of canvasses scattered around his Carlsbad, California studio. Here, expressive paintings in primary and secondary colors often depict whimsical shapes of stars, rainbows, fish and dragons.
- Pat Sparkuhl - Pat Sparkuhl creates artworks that focus on personal concerns and relationships to social issues. Recurring themes in his works are sex, war, health, politics, religion and money. His themes encompass the broad range of human behavior and other...
- Scott Moore - Scott Moore creates artworks that touch viewers' psyches, resonate with memories of a long lost America, conjure up images by Norman Rockwell with hints.
- Snezana Petrovic - For Snezana Petrovic, winning the Ovation Awards prize for costume design was the most recent accolade of a long, illustrious career that began with studio.
- Tom Swimm - The paintings of Tom Swimm are exquisite renditions of water and light, of boats and fishing villages, inspired by his travels to picturesque spots in places like Italy, Greece and the Caribbean.