Sapphire Lake Melody
Sapphire Lake Melody
Sapphire Lake Melody
Sapphire Lake Melody

Christopher Burkett

Sapphire Lake Melody

New Hampshire, 1989

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $1,500.00
Sapphire Lake Melody
Sapphire Lake Melody
Sapphire Lake Melody
Sapphire Lake Melody



Original Cibachrome photograph by Christopher Burkett, “Sapphire Lake Melody.” Individually handmade by 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.



“I spent three months in Vermont in 1989 helping train some of the employees in drum scanning the fine art that was reproduced at the Stinehour Press. While I was there I went out in the surrounding countryside to photograph with my 8×10 camera.

This scene was in New Hampshire at a small unnamed shallow lake in the hills. I was struck by the pattern of the delicate blooming water plants in the deep blue water. The sun was out and it was around 11am, there was a constant light wind which caused all the ripples in the water but the small plants were not wiggling.

I used a 600mm lens on my camera and used the camera adjustments to precisely place the plane of focus absolutely parallel with the water’s surface so that I could get everything in focus without stopping the lens down very much. This enabled me to choose a shutter speed which was fast enough to record the ripples on the film but slow enough to show that it was moving water. I exposed one piece of Fujichrome 100 film at f/16 for 1/60 second.

The film lay in a box for 22 years until I made the first Cibachrome of it in 2011. It needed a contrast mask to match the tonal values to the tonal range of the material. The small warm toned blooming plants are extremely sharp and make a nice contrast to the rich shades of blue, slightly moving water. When I view the Cibachrome, the small plants look like scattered phrases of musical notes much as they would appear on a page of sheet music, thus the title.”


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.