Blue Melange
Blue Melange
Blue Melange
Blue Melange

Christopher Burkett

Blue Melange

Maine, 1994

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $2,000.00
Blue Melange
Blue Melange
Blue Melange
Blue Melange



Original Cibachrome photograph individually handmade by Christopher Burkett from 8×10-format transparency film, mounted on cotton rag Antique Rising Museum Board. Signed in pencil on mount with title, date and edition number on verso.

The 40×50″ Museum Edition is limited to 15 total. Due to the size and delicate nature of the artworks, they must be shipped directly to a professional framer of your choice. For clients in the Bay Area, we also offer framing and installation services. Please for additional information.



“In the fall of 2009, my wife Ruth and I went on another photo trip across the USA. Eventually we found ourselves in Maine at Arcadia National Park. We spent the entire day at the park, searching for a worthwhile image. While the park is quite beautiful, I wasn’t seeing anything that was coming together to make a strong photograph.

We eventually worked our way down to the far southeast edge of Mt. Desert Island where the land meets the sea. Working my way down the craggy, rocky edge I explored the pools of water that were exposed at low tide. I found this scene that I studied for a few minutes before deciding that it did have a lot of potential.

Making my way back up the cliff, Ruth and I brought down the 8×10’s camera gear and I set up the shot, using a Schneider 305mm G-Clarion lens which was highly corrected for close up photography. Because the image was to be reproduced on the film at about 35% life size, I had to add a bellows extension factor when computing the exposure before I made the one exposure that you see reproduced here.

The film languished in my darkroom for 10 years before I ventured to see what kind of Cibachrome I could make of it. The image requires very precise contrast and tone reproduction through contrast masking and extremely accurate color balance in the enlarger. There are important opposite colors in the image, with the wide range of blue and cyan colors in the water and the yellows, browns and bronze tones of the seaweed plants. There is no way I could properly make this photograph without the 0. 1CC color control that I have with my Durst HL 2501 enlarger.

The image is quite striking, especially in the larger sizes. While the photograph is accurate in its reproduction of the details of the original scene, there’s also a strikingly abstract quality to the exhibition quality Cibachromes. This comes from two contrasting qualities: the extremely delicate pastel colors of the seaweed under the water versus the ruggedness of the seaweed above the water, their edges dramatized by the water’s meniscus brightening the reflections of the sky.

This is an image that continually satisfies me as I look into it and marvel at its beauty and complexity. Subtle and bold, hot and cold, it’s an image I never get tired of and always see more in it each time I come back and gaze into its depths.”


All Christopher Burkett photographs sold at Photography West are new and in pristine condition. HD videos of the individual piece you are purchasing are available upon request. For more information, please


Christopher Burkett has labored for over four decades to create what many regard as the most impeccable and luminous color photographs in the history of photography. Gifted with a contemplative spirit as well as painter’s eye, Burkett has an uncommon ability to capture the natural world in a manner that simultaneously reflects “the world behind the world” as Minor White and Paul Caponigro might have put it. And although Burkett has been compared by curators to American color landscape photographers Eliot Porter and Ernst Haas, whose genre of American landscape photography he extended, neither of them exclusively developed their own film, nor attempted the darkroom standard clearly in evidence upon viewing Burkett’s original Cibachromes.

christopher burkett in his darkroom


Cibachrome, also known as Ilfochrome, is among the most stable of all color photographic processes. The dyes reside within the emulsion layers, giving the photograph its characteristic color saturation. The base is a polyester triacetate, rather than fiber-based paper, which adds to the longevity. It was a positive-to-positive photographic process based on the Gasparcolor process, created in 1933 by Bela Gaspar, a Hungarian chemist. Purchased after the merger of Ilford UK and Ciba-Geigy Photochemie of Switzerland, the process was first trademarked and marketed as Cibachrome in 1963. Each Cibachrome is composed of ten layers containing various combinations of light-sensitive silver halides and dyes that are sensitive to blue, green, or red light waves, which gives it an incredible depth and three-dimensional quality. After exposure of a positive, either through an enlarger or direct contact, the Cibachrome must be developed with black-and-white developing chemicals. This step creates a silver negative image within the layers. Next, the photograph must be bleached. The bleaching rids the photograph of dyes in proportion to the amount of silver that has been developed in the previous step and produces a positive dye image in color. In 2011, Cibachrome/Ilfochrome products were discontinued and it is now considered a historical process.