f/11 and Be There

Burk Uzzle’s singular vision and dedication to the medium of photography led him from a small, homebuilt darkroom on his father’s porch, into the company and guidance of the 20th centuries most important photographers. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Cornell Capa, Rene Burri, and Elliot Erwitt were among his colleagues at Magnum; “F/11 and Be There” was a photographer’s mantra Burk picked up during his time with that organization. Long before he joined Magnum, Burk's prowess with a camera was evident when in 1962, he became the youngest photographer hired by Life Magazine at the age of 23. His photograph of the couple embracing at Woodstock would go on to become the cover of the Woodstock album. His iconic photographs of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement, Cambodia, Vietnam, Haiti, Robert Kennedy, the south, segregation, southern poverty, contemporary portraiture and landscapes, and so many others have made Burk a touchstone in the history of photography and photojournalism. Though his contributions to the mediums of art photography and photojournalism over a 60+ year career are innumerable, this film finds its center in his contemporary portraiture work with African Americans in Eastern North Carolina. F/11 and Be There is a journey alongside one of America's greatest visual poets as he travels America's backroads in search of landscapes, makes museums exhibitions with a local community, and offers up many parallels and intersections of the 20th and 21st centuries using his vast archive. As an artist at the age of 80, Burk Uzzle shows no signs of slowing in his fervor and adoration for the medium that has been the impetus for his entire life.

In Love's Shadow

Ralph Burns, a prolific photographer with a 50+ year history in the medium, revisits Graceland on the 40th anniversary of Elvis' death. Starting on the first Anniversary in 1978, Ralph photographed Elvis fans during this pilgrimage for nearly 30 years consecutively. His series 'How Great Thou Art' has received international recognition since the 1980s, and this film finds him ten years past his last visit to Graceland, making his final trip as a closing to this series. Ralph is as much a social scientist as he is a uniquely gifted photographer and master darkroom printer; his many bodies of work centering on ideas of existentialism, mortality, and the rituals that we use in order to relate to one another, and to make peace with the human experience. Part love letter to film photography and darkroom printing process, part exploration of the human need for ritual, In Love's Shadow is the portrait of an artist who has built a lifetime of work exploring subcultures and religions across the globe.

"Remains" by Burk Uzzle

Burk Uzzle, iconic photographer since the 1960s and native of North Carolina, photographs the confederate monument that was toppled by the public in Durham, NC in 2017.

Life Magazine, Magnum Photos, innumerable publications, museums, and art galleries have all benefitted from Burk's immeasurable talents and sensibilities behind the lens. As a southerner, born and raised in North Carolina, a great deal of his work as a photographer has been focused on exploring southern identity. In August of 2017, protestors toppled a Civil War monument of a confederate soldier, in Durham, North Carolina. In August of 2018 Burk was granted permission to photograph that same statue. "Remains" is a commentary on southern identity in 2018 through Burk's lens, and through his own words. It is a particularly tumultuous and divisive time in modern American history, and as a photographer who has contributed to the Civil Rights movement throughout his career, "Remains" is an important work of art not just for the history involved in producing that statue, but for the current state of it - the confederacy as "a failed idea, on the wrong side of humanity, which has caved in upon itself." As a companion piece to "F/11 and Be There," a feature film about Burk's life and work, "Remains" is also an extension of the primary message within that film - equality.

Directed by Jethro Waters
Music by Luke Norton
Special Thanks to David Raymond and Janet Kagan.

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Official Selection 2016 Blow Up Arthouse Film Festival