Iridescent Charred Tree
Iridescent Charred Tree
Iridescent Charred Tree
Iridescent Charred Tree

Christopher Burkett

Iridescent Charred Tree

California, 1996

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $2,000.00
Iridescent Charred Tree
Iridescent Charred Tree
Iridescent Charred Tree
Iridescent Charred Tree



Original Cibachrome photograph, “Iridescent Charred Tree, California.” Individually handmade by Christopher Burkett from 6×6-format transparency film. Mounted on cotton rag Antique Rising Museum Board. Signed in pencil on mount with title, date and edition number on verso.



“In the spring of 1996, I made a week-long photo trip from Oregon to northern California. I spent some time in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, where I found this redwood tree with a large charred area from a fire that had occurred sometime in the past.

The tree was large, about six feet in diameter and the charred area was weathered and smooth. I could see that the shiny burned area was subtlety reflecting the colors of the sky, the trees and the sunlit foliage of the forest and it seemed possible that a worthwhile image could be found there.

I used a Zeiss Superachromat lens on my Hasselblad to take the photo. The lens has incredible sharpness and absolutely perfect color correction and it was able to resolve an amazing amount of subtle color differentiation and fine texture in the weathered, charred wood.

Making this photograph properly in the darkroom requires a lot of finesse, since the overall color balance has to be absolutely perfect for all of the opposite colors in the image to come to life. And the tonal densities have to be carefully evened out with dodging and burning to bring a cohesive look to the image.

When the Cibachrome is lit properly, there is an almost startling iridescent and three dimensional feel to it, which effectively reproduces the subtle colors that I saw and felt in that charred trunk in the midst of that deep coastal forest on a warm spring day many years ago.”


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.