White Dogwood Canopy
White Dogwood Canopy
White Dogwood Canopy

Christopher Burkett

White Dogwood Canopy

Kentucky, 2000

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $2,000.00
White Dogwood Canopy
White Dogwood Canopy
White Dogwood Canopy



Original Cibachrome photograph by Christopher Burkett, “White Dogwood Canopy.” 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.



“In 1990 and 1991 the Bernheim Forest Foundation in Kentucky gave me two artist grants to photograph at the forest. They also provided a place for me to stay on the grounds and gave me keys to the gates to the fire roads and complete freedom to photograph before and after the usual public hours. In addition to the grant, we’ve maintained a wonderful relationship with the folks at Bernheim Forest and have been allowed to photograph there under similar conditions for many years.

This image was made in the spring of 2000. There are quite a few native white dogwood trees at Bernheim Forest. This one was on the home property of the Bernheim Director. One of the primary difficulties of photographing dogwood blossoms is wind. Each blossom is perched on a very thin branch and the blossoms act as sails, wafting in the wind. This sunny day was absolutely calm and the blue sky was mostly clear. The blossoms were at their peak and the tree was magnificently inspiring.

I first tried to make an image with my 8×10 camera and a wide angle lens but had to give it up after about 45 minutes of struggle. I was trying to shoot almost straight up, with the camera close to the ground but composing and focusing the image proved impossible. So I switched to the Hasselblad with a 50mm lens and a prism viewfinder.

When composing an image with a wide angle lens and fairly close subject matter, moving the camera a fraction of an inch noticeably changes the composition. So I hand-held the camera, moving in and out underneath the tree until I found the image that you see here. Carefully marking the spot, I put the camera on a sturdy tripod and made this exposure.

Making the Cibachrome is a delicate matter. The blue colors progress from a light cyan in the lower right corner to a clear true blue color in the upper left corner. The whites are luminous but need to be held to the right density and color balance. Dodging and burning each print has to be precise and flawless to bring the Cibachrome into a unified whole.

This image, like some others of mine, consists of three visual layers which interact with each another. There’s the blue sky background, the craggy framework of the black branches, and the flocks of butterfly-like white dogwood blossoms that all work together to make an image that is more than the sum of its parts. It never fails to warm my heart.”


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.