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Understory : Lumen Prints of Florida FLora

by – Jerry Burchfield

In 2004, Laguna Wilderness Press, in conjunction with the Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, was proud to release Primal Images: 100 Lumen Prints of Amazonia Flora, a fascinating and beautifully rendered exhibition of vegetation from the Amazon by one of our founders, Jerry Burchfield.

Using a new variation of a technique as old as photography, Burchfield created lumen prints, which capitalize on the interaction of humidity, duration and strength of exposure, chemical composition of the plant, and different types of photographic paper to create images that are as alive with color and energy as the jungle itself.

In 2009, Burchfield has returned to this medium to create another stunning work: Understory: Lumen Prints of Florida Flora. With contributions by Kevin Miller and Don Spence, Burchfield has resurrected this technique to highlight the dense, tropical vegetation of Florida. The resulting prints twist our conception of nature to reveal the haunting and mysterious beauty that underscores the environment around us.


“We are able to read Burchfield’s lumen prints as symbol and metaphor more than document and fact based on three photographic initiatives and their resultant visual vocabularies developed during photography’s brief history. These photographic vocabularies and strategies—derived from pictorialism, metaphorical modernism, and alternative photographic practices—effectively subvert the documentary, scientific, evidentiary eye of the hard-edged optical lens, replacing it with visions of strange, private, disturbing, psychological, and mythic worlds felt or discovered by the photographer.”
Jonathan Green, Executive Director of University of California Riverside’s ARTS Block & former Director of the University of California Riverside/California Museum of Photography



“Burchfield has composed a body of work that transcends utilitarian concerns to explore a mysterious creative arena where chance and skill collaborate. From the earliest photographic experiments with light sensitive materials to modernist fascination with the subconscious to current conceptual practice, Burchfield’s lumen prints suggest the gamut of the history of photography.”
Thomas McGovern, artist/photographer and Professor at California State University, San Bernardino.

1 review for Understory

The PhotoBook - July 27, 2009

The PhotoBook – July 27, 2009

“Like his earlier Amazon project, the range of colors, tonal patterns, shapes and mass that have been captured in his prints is still magical… We may think that the trees can last forever, but the tree’s very existence is highly dependent upon their vulnerable leaves. I think that Burchfield’s message is that our ecosystem, no matter how robust and invincible that it may seem, is at great risk to changes in the balance of nature.”

-The PhotoBook – July 27, 2009
Understory – The PhotoBook Review.pdf

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