Small Waterfall
Small Waterfall
Small Waterfall
Small Waterfall

Christopher Burkett

Small Waterfall

Oregon, 1983

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $1,500.00
Small Waterfall
Small Waterfall
Small Waterfall
Small Waterfall



Original Cibachrome photograph by Christopher Burkett, “Small Waterfall.” 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 1983, I was still running a 40” four color sheetfed press, often working 68-72 hours a week which didn’t leave much time for photography. One lovely spring day I had a Saturday afternoon off, so my wife Ruth and I decided to hike the Columbia Gorge in Oregon. The gorge has numerous waterfalls and paths which go up and down the steep cliff sides. I wasn’t interested in the usual photographs of the dozen or so well-known large waterfalls, but hoped to find more intimate, quiet scenes.

Ruth was carrying my Hasselblad outfit using a homemade waterproof backpack that I had designed and sewn together which had compartments for lenses, backs, camera accessories and of course the camera body. It was designed so she could leave the backpack on while I accessed the pieces of equipment I needed. She referred to herself as the “Pack Ruthie.”

We found this small unnamed waterfall near an upper part of a trail. The lighting was perfect for the moment with soft light over most of the scene but a spot or two of sunlight coming through the tall trees. One of the spots was perfectly highlighting right where two rivulets joined. I used the 80mm lens on my Hasselblad and made one exposure on Ektachrome 64 film.

It was 10 years before I made my first successful Cibachrome of this image in 1993. I had tried earlier but was never satisfied with them. They were either too contrasty or they became flat and lifeless. After 10 years of contrast masking, I gained enough experience to be able to get what I was looking for: good tonal separation in the water with bright and detailed highlights, a sense of shape to the mossy stones, and the soft feel of the scene with dappled sunlight without harshness.”


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.