White Callas at Dawn
White Callas at Dawn
White Callas at Dawn
White Callas at Dawn

Christopher Burkett

White Callas at Dawn

Oregon, 2003

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $2,000.00
White Callas at Dawn
White Callas at Dawn
White Callas at Dawn
White Callas at Dawn



Original Cibachrome photograph by Christopher Burkett, “White Callas at Dawn.” 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 mount verso.



“Our home in Oregon has beautifully landscaped property that we take care of. These calla lilies are ones that I planted and what you see in this photograph is the best they ever looked which was in June, 2003. The tallest flowers were almost four feet tall and they were planted on the edge of a steep slope with a rhododendron behind them and a tall deciduous tree in front of them, 20 feet away.

The early morning light is coming from straight overhead and although the light is soft there is considerable contrast because there is no fill light coming in from any direction. On this morning I was struck by how the calla blossoms seemed filled with light and the entire plant seemed to have an exuberant glow.

I used my Hasselblad camera with the 300mm Tele-Superachromat lens and Velvia 50 film to take this photograph. This lens has perfect color correction and is one of the sharpest lenses ever made so there is remarkable definition in the edge lighting on the leaves and the subtle pastel striations in the blossoms.

The Cibachrome requires a lot of finesse to make. When deciding how best to make a Cibachrome, there’s more to decide than just the right contrast level. One has to consider the entire tone reproduction curve and how to make a photograph that will best convey the intent of the photographer and what inspired them to take the photograph. In this case, the glow in the white blossoms was of paramount importance. All the other shapes and tones would be the supporting cast in this production.

It took considerable effort and several re-dos on the contrast masking, but after two days of work I had the first good Cibachrome finished on June 10, 2003. I clearly remember the date because it was my mother’s birthday and I had matted and framed the first Cibachrome to give to her as a birthday present. She always loved white callas and even carried them as her wedding bouquet many years earlier.

On my way out the door I had a flash of inspiration and went over to the flowers, picked them, put them in a vase and took the Cibachrome and the flowers over to her that afternoon. She was thrilled and for many days kept inviting her friends over to appreciate the beauty of the Cibachrome and flowers with her.”


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.


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.