Kohler Foundation is honored to be working with photographer Burk Uzzle to preserve his body of work. The youngest photographer ever hired by LIFE magazine at the age of 23, Burk has had a tremendous and impressive career. Grounded in documentary photography, he was a member of the prestigious Magnum Cooperative. For 15 years he was an active contributor and ultimately served as Magnum’s president 1979-1980. During his 16 years with Magnum, he produced some of the most recognizable images we have of Woodstock, the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Killing Fields of Cambodia. During his career, he photographed celebrities like Robin Williams and Hugh Hefner, Robert Kennedy, business leaders and innovators, and ordinary people in street photography.
Now in his early 80’s, fit and energetic, Burk continues to work, although he has given up the nomadic life of a documentary photographer. He works and lives in his studio in Wilson, NC where he continues to do some of his best work. His current photography leans to artful and constructed reflections of his subjects, many of whom are African American residents of his local community.
Kohler Foundation has acquired some 75,000 negatives/transparencies and the “best of the best” of Burk’s prints numbering 3,800, as well as all files that were “born digital,” archival materials, and all copyrights. Kohler Foundation will soon begin the process of digital preservation in preparation for gifting to the Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
The Wilson Special Collections Library, located on Polk Place at the heart of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, is home to the University Library’s North Carolina Collection, Rare Book Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Southern Historical Collection, and University Archives and Records Management Services. The five special collections hold unique and rare books, organizational records, personal and family papers, photographs, moving images, sound recordings, and artifacts that document the history and culture of the University, the state, the region, the nation, and the world. Conservation and sound preservation laboratories that serve the special collections are also located within the building.
The Wilson Library is recognized as a place where all students, scholars, and visitors are welcome to pursue their research and interests. Throughout the year, the collections in the Wilson Library offer public events and exhibitions that highlight their renowned collections.