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Burk Uzzle (American, b.1938)


Birth Place: Raleigh, NC USA


Who is photographer Burk Uzzle?

Burk Uzzle is an American photographer, best known as the youngest contract photographer ever hired by Life Magazine. He was just 23 years old at the time. Later, he would make waves as first a member, then the president of Magnum Photos, an esteemed and international photo coop. His work has touched literal millions and has helped shape some of the biggest narratives of the 20th century. He was present taking pictures at Woodstock, the assassination and funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and Cambodia where he took pictures of the devastating toll the war took on refugees.

There’s no denying the social justice component of Uzzle’s work, but it is his eye for the human element that has connected Uzzle with a wide audience. He continues to work from his home in North Carolina and has released nine photography books over the course of his career. His pieces can be found in prestigious institutions around the world including the Smithsonian Institution, The Chrysler Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

What kind of art does Burk Uzzle make?

Burk Uzzle is a photographer whose prints often focus on the human element of international news stories. During his time as a contributor to Life Magazine, he took several iconic images. These images helped define the United States for the better part of six decades. Looking at Uzzle’s body of work is to take in the evolution of photojournalism as an art form in the twentieth and twenty-first century -- from the analog days of film cameras to the digital images of today. Uzzle continues to shoot today, his current projects include work documenting social justice movements. Uzzle’s work feels as alive and lived-in as it did when he started, a surprisingly difficult task. Uzzle has become the eyes of modern America, and we are all better off for it.

How did photographer Burk Uzzle get started?

Burk Uzzle was born in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1938. Born to a middle-class family, Uzzle was extremely adept at shooting film from an early age. At the tender age of 17, Uzzle was already spending time as a working photojournalist, covering current events for the News and Observer. This work led him to Life magazine. He was hired by Life at just 23 years of age -- making him the youngest photographer that they had ever worked with. It’s a record that holds to this day. Uzzle continued to work for Life and other magazines for the rest of the century. In 1979 he became the President of the legendary photo coop, Magnum. He held that position for two years.

How much are Burk Uzzle photographs worth?

Burk Uzzle photographs are worth substantial money and have gone at auction for anywhere from a few hundred dollars on the low end to more than $2,500 on the high end. The most ever paid at a Heritage Auction event for a Burk Uzzle set is $2,625 for the piece A Group of Four Woodstock Photographs (1969) on October 11th, 2017. These were four gelatin silver photos that were taken during the festival at that time -- as such they represent both historical and artistic value. This melding of history and art is what makes Uzzle so appealing to many collectors

Where to buy Burk Uzzle photographs for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Burk Uzzle photographs?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services Department.

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