Intimations of Paradise
Essay Excerpts


Intimations of Paradise includes four well crafted essays:

Please take a moment to read excerpts from these essays:

Excerpts from "Paradise Found" by James Alinder:
Over the past twenty-five years Christopher Burkett has produced an extraordinary body of creative work, one remarkable in the history of photography...

Redolent of the same philosophy [ as Group f/64] and using the view camera with the lens often stopped to f/64, Burkett applies the Group's tenets to express his own aesthetic: large prints and a rainbow palette. In doing so, he both embraces the tradition of Pure Photography and transcends it...

One unifying factor in his vision is that, in every image, light seems to be coming from within the photograph, self-illuminated....

The best of Christopher Burkett's photographs have an almost mystical sense of connection to us, one that cannot fully be conveyed through words or reproductions....

Christopher Burkett's photographic epiphanies reveal images with a profound beauty that can only be hand-forged and bless us with a paradise found.


Excerpts from "Vital Form and Radiant Light" by James Reid:
Like the greatest painters, (Christopher Burkett) penetrates deep inside the mystery of what appears in nature, and brings into being before our eyes works of art which manifest the inner light, the living, organic structure of nature...

In his hands the equipment and techniques of photography the camera, the darkroom processes lose their mechanical individuality and are transformed into extensions of the artist's faculties, just as a painter's palette and brushes do not interpose themselves between the painter and nature or between him and his work, but rather, as extensions of his hand, serve as subtle instruments of creation....

Through its clarity, its expansiveness, Christopher's photographic art reveals the splendor, the superabundance of being, the mysterious gushing forth of the act of existing....

All the constituents of a work of Christopher Burkett enjoy a communal life. They interact freely, spontaneously; nothing is forced or arbitrary. A masterpiece differs from an inferior work precisely in this quality of freedom....

In Christopher's photographs, as in beautiful music or dance, everything occurs at the right time and in the right place, takes its ordained place in the sequence of spatial movements, so that the whole unfolds rhythmically, organically, as a unified life....

In most of Christopher Burkett's work, the subject is incidental. What matters is the vitality of the form. The compelling feeling of reality, the testimony of truthfulness to nature, is due to the integrity and energy of form...

The photography of Christopher Burkett comes to us as a grace, ever new, fresh and alive, ever varied with the inexhaustible variety of nature.


Excerpts from "Glimpses of Paradise: the natural world in the photography of Christopher Burkett," by Vincent Rossi:
Christopher Burkett is a photographer who has been graced with a vision of the natural world as a creation radiant with the numinous Presence of its Source, that is, God...

Through his photographs and the perfection of his art, Christopher Burkett seeks to pierce the veil of materiality in the temple of the creation and reveal the paradisal luminosity hidden deep down in virgin nature. In the incredibly painstaking photographic process that lies behind every fine print that Christopher produces, as well as in his willingness to go to amazing lengths to find the right subjects in the right circumstances of light, color and composition, one can clearly see that this artist has caught a glimpse of the lost paradise in the natural world, and has dedicated his life to recreating that vision in his art...

His vision of nature is concrete yet evocative; his images seem to convey both the objectively real natural event and the subjectively experienced participation in it....

To a unique degree, he captures the multi-dimensionality in nature, the sense of world within world that we sometimes sense but seldom see. He uses light to reach behind, as it were, the play of color and form in nature. There is a spaciousness and a serenity in his prints that hint of the smiling generosity of eternity even in subjects that capture the last fleeting moments of a never-to-be-repeated scene of light, color, form and shadow. All photography stops time, but a Burkett print arrests time to hint at eternity. Plato said time was a moving image of eternity. Gazing at a Burkett print, one feels that one can almost see through it into the numinous dimension shimmering just beyond the two-dimensionality of the printed page.


Excerpts from Christopher Burkett's biographical statment:
Frequently, when leaving the chapel after communion, I would be aware that the world was transformed with light. This was not simply a brighter version of the ordinary light we see in the world. This was a warm, almost fragrant light, full of grace and the tangible presence of Christ. It touched, filled and transformed everything I saw, filling my heart to overflowing and transforming all, including myself, in its radiant magnanimity. The world filled with grace and light. Once again, my eyes were opened and I could really see--but now I could see and sense a much greater world of light and peace.

I knew that this light was real. It was more real and more precious than anything else. Since it was light, I knew that there must be some way to photograph it. If I learned to paint what I was seeing and feeling, people would say that I had a creative imagination. Photography used light as its paintbrush and had an indisputably direct, physical link to the original scene. It would be the perfect medium to use to share that radiant, transforming light that I saw filling the world. Perhaps, with time, I might be able to bring an intimation of that light and that paradise which I saw existing everywhere.