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Goodbye Jerry Burchfield

As artists we strive to do our best work. We get very absorbed in a project, working away in a vacuum, with no feedback. Personally, I set up projects that challenge me. Once I shoot five or so images, I pretty much have it down, and the challenge lessens because I have worked out the bugs. That’s when my confidence level takes a dive. I begin to think “why did I think this project was worth my time”? or “Is this series really saying something”? I push forward on the faith of my initial excitement. Something like a long marriage when lust turns into real love.

Jerry Burchfield was an incredible photographer and teacher. He, along with a group of fellow photographers created the largest pinhole photograph in the world. His generosity as a teacher at Cypress College is legendary. Jerry directed the gallery at Cypress, and I approached him about having an exhibit there. I had never met him before, and didn’t know what to expect. I brought two very different series of work, unsure of either one because I hadn’t shown them to anyone before, let alone such an established pro like Jerry. He looked at them thoughtfully for a long time. He made very insightful comments, then gave me a huge surprise. Looking me straight in the eyes, with a nod of approval, he said “I’ll show this work”. I was waiting for him to tell me which series he liked. He saw the question on my face, and said “both. Both series are strong, and even though they are visually different, they have a relationship to each other, so I want to show them both”.

Jerry gave me a much needed boost of confidence that day. It was a gift I will never forget. His students have experienced it, his friends have experienced it, and I hope those of us who were lucky enough to meet him, pass on his creativity, knowledge, and generosity to other photographers as well as he did.

Thank you forever, Jerry.

Below is Jerry’s obituary from the Orange County Register.


About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

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