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Burk Uzzle

November 11, 2005 - January 8, 2006
Gallery Talk: November 16, 12:00-1:00pm
Artist's Talk, Book Signing and Opening Reception: November 16, 5:30-7:00pm

A Family Named Spot
A Family Named Spot, Daytona Beach, FL, 1997

“America is the most exotic country in the world. It is also the loneliest.” –Burk Uzzle

Burk Uzzle discovers and celebrates the quirky displays of patriotism, childhood, and fantasy that are unique to America. Through humor and charm, Burk Uzzle has continued his four-decade exposition on how Americans display their idiosyncratic dreams and aspirations.

  “A hundred years ago, in Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain wrote about life on shore and on the river. Life on shore, man’s ordinary condition, was intolerable to Huck Finn: The Widow Douglas tried to “Sivilize” him; Miss Watson attempted to teach him manners and spelling; and his drunken father locked him up and tried to steal his money. The people in the towns along the Mississippi River were enslaved by their history and tricked and defrauded by conmen skilled at playing on their emotions. Huck’s reaction to this life, the path offered him by fate, was to escape to the river with a runaway slave. Huck relates, “I was so powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and so was Jim to get away from the swamp. We said there weren’t no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don’t. You feel mighty free and comfortable on a raft.” Life on the river was freedom.         A Family Named Spot
Speedo, Florida, 1999
Like Twain, Uzzle observes the conventional life, life on shore, so to speak, with witty irreverence and a particularly Southern sense of the preposterous, steadied by common sense and, always, empathy. Images… express the ludicrous, bittersweet situations of Americans who have bought into the system but who don’t control it.

These photographs often find people in moments of introspection and isolation in the midst of crowds and in public displays of vulnerability and longing. They show people not seeing, not touching, wearing the blinders of self-absorption in a choreography of sad indifference. The solution lies in the kinship of families, but the first resort of change is life on the river, a cutting loose from the confines of routine existence and relationships.” –Martha Chahroudi, excerpted from the Introduction to All American.


Burk Uzzle was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. He started career as a newspaper photographer in the mid-1950's and moved on to assignments for LIFE magazine from 1962-1968. In 1967 he joined the esteemed photographer’s cooperative Magnum, and served as its president from 1979-1980. He has had numerous one-person shows since 1970, and has been featured in many important survey exhibitions including "Photography 68" at the George Eastman House and "Contemporary Photographers" at the Stedelijk Museum in Holland. Three monographs of his work have been published: Progress Report on America (Chrysler Museum, 1992); All American (Aperture, 1985); and Landscapes (Magnum, 1973). His images are held in major museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Chicago Art Institute, Stedelijk Museum, and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Burk Uzzle Wow Cows Burk Uzzle Book of Love
Burk Uzzle Legs
Wow Cows, Vermont, 2003 Book of Love, Daytona Beach, FL, 1997 Legs, Vermont, 2002
Installation Images:
Burk Uzzle - A Family Named Spot Exhibiton - Installation Image Burk Uzzle - A Family Named Spot Exhibiton - Installation Image
Burk Uzzle - A Family Named Spot Exhibiton - Installation Image

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Exhibitions and programs at the Southeast Museum of Photography are supported in part by Daytona State College, Volusia ECHO and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on the Arts.

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