Beautiful photographs can be momentary. They can exist without context, surviving simply because the composition was thoughtfully constructed. These are everywhere. What is so rare and much more difficult to achieve is making a beautiful photograph that evokes within it the the soul of subject, the intention of the artist, and sometime later, the empathy and awe of the viewer. This is what Burk Uzzle does so well.
Just the history of Burk Uzzle's photographic work, told in his words, through his eyes, would have made for a great film. He has captured some of the 20th century's most important moments in his photographs. Though here he is, more than 60 years after he began taking pictures, as vibrant and relevant an artist as he's ever been. The story behind the photograph is what Burk Uzzle is after. And within that same idea, we are after the story behind Burk.
f/11 and be there is a feature length documentary about photographer Burk Uzzle who recorded many of the 20 century’s defining moments in pictures - the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr’s life and funeral, the war in Viet Nam, the Cambodian killing fields and the festival at Woodstock.
The way in which Burk Uzzle approaches the photographic process is ontological - it is a way of being. He does not merely use his technical proficiency and vast experience to photograph a subject in an interesting way, rather, he is endlessly seeking to present the aura of the individual through a picture. His artistry continues to connect us with appreciation and understanding of the anima of a particular place or person. f/11 and be there is a film about how he locates core moments that amplify how we see our collective selves, values, and communities. A current project documenting the African-American South is a prism into his affinities and priorities, and his belief that portraiture is the next frontier in photography. f/11 and be there shows us what we have been missing about this uniquely human landscape and brings us into the world of Burk Uzzle, whose images we know well but haven’t yet had a chance to meet personally, until now.
This film is currently in production through April of 2017. Most of the production will be in and around Wilson, North Carolina, with some shoots in the Blue Ridge Mountains, New York City. Burk and Jethro will take a road trip across the US in March of 2017 capturing landscapes and making portraits.