Jesse Burke

New monograph of photographs by Jesse Burke, Intertitdal available from Decode Books.

Burke’s artist statement:
“I photograph my life and the lives of the men in my social and family circles in an attempt to understand the origins of our ideas about masculinity. As the author, I interpret a specific culture and mythology. I am most drawn to the moments that are representative of the vulnerability or emasculation. I examine male bonding and peer influence, masculine rites and rituals, homosocial desire, physical exertion, our connections to one another and the landscape we share.

Read an interview with Jesse Burke by James Wagner for Platform Gallery (Seattle).

“As young boys growing up on the shores of New England, Jesse Burke and his friends would spend days exploring and sifting through the rocks and shells of the intertidal zoneā€”the area of land that exists between the high and the low tide marks. In his photographs in Intertidal, Burke explores the complexity of masculine identity, which is in many ways analogous to the intertidal zone. His images capture those moments “in between,” with the idealized notion of manhood on the one side and actually being male on the other. His photographs of men and their landscapes hint at sweetness, but they also embrace the heroic idea of masculinity. Burke is drawn to the tension of vulnerability (be it a rupture or physical / emotional / metaphorical wound) and grit (“no pain / no gain”); to the space between strength and tenderness. Sometimes these images capture the fleeting moment between events. Sometimes they capture the concrete event itself. Always, the photographs are working in the ambiguous space of the intertidal zone.”


“I am most drawn to the moments that are representative of vulnerability or emasculation; where there is a presence of a rupture or wound, be it physical, emotional, or metaphorical. I pinpoint those moments in our lives. Sometimes it is a fleeting moment between events. Sometimes it is a concrete object. Regardless, I see a world where blood and sweat mix with sunsets and snowdrifts. A world where we can run through the woods like young boys, without fear of consequence, only to fall and scape our knees, and bask in the utter satisfaction of pain.”

Jesse Burke Solo exhibition at Humble Arts Foundation


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