Burk Uzzle was born in 1938 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and began his career at age 17 as a staff photographer for the News & Observer in Raleigh (1955-56). He then went on to work as a contract photographer for Black Star Agency (1957-62) and at age 23, was the youngest contract photographer hired by LIFE magazine (1962-1968). He became a member of Magnum Photos in 1967 and eventually served as president of Magnum Photos for two terms (1979 & 1980). Now an independent photographer based in Wilson, North Carolina, Uzzle spends several months of each year traveling and photographing throughout the United States. Uzzle is known for his photographic coverage of the civil rights movement, as well as for capturing everyday aspects of American life and culture, including his iconic images of Woodstock, one of which graces the cover of the Woodstock album.
tags: NC art, NC artist, North Carolina
Burk Uzzle (August 4, 1938 in Raleigh, North Carolina) is an American photojournalist, previously member of Magnum Photos and president from 1979 to 1980.
Burk Uzzle (burkuzzle.com) has spent his life as a professional photographer. Initially grounded in documentary photography when he was the youngest contract photographer hired by Life magazine at age 23, his work continues to reflect the human condition. For sixteen years during the 1970s and 1980s, he was an active contributor to the evolution of Magnum and served as its President in 1979 and 1980. While affiliated with the cooperative, he produced the iconic and symbolic image of Woodstock (showing Nick Ercoline and Bobbi Kelly hugging), helped people grasp an understanding of the assassination and funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and powerfully projects comprehension of what it means to be an outsider - from Cambodian war refugees to disenfranchised populations without voice or agency to portraits of communities not identified on a roadmap.
His archive spans more than six decades and captures much of the history of analog and digital photography. His current bodies of work rest deep in issues of social justice. A dozen years ago, Uzzle returned to North Carolina and now lives and works in two century old industrial buildings located in downtown Wilson not far from where he was born. With the energy and determination of someone half his age, he wakes every morning at 5am, takes an hour to swiftly bike all over the town before the sun is up, and then gets to work. Disciplined, organized, and always open to ideas emboldened through keen intuition, Uzzle states with conviction that photography is his reason to breathe and what he sees is his muse.