Burke, Jesse - Blizzard
Burke, Jesse - A bird with a Broken Wing
A Bird with a Broken Wing
Burke, Jesse - Another Wide River to Cross
Another Wide River to Cross
Burke, Jesse - Sanctified
Burke, Jesse - As Long As The Grass Shall Grow
As Long as the Grass Shall Grow
Burke, Jesse - Blistered
Burke, Jesse - Church in the Wildwood
Church in the Wildwood
Burke, Jesse - Boa Constrictor
Boa Constrictor
Burke, Jesse - Call of the Wild
Call of the Wild
Burke, Jesse - Flesh and Blood
Flesh and Blood
Burke, Jesse - Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound
Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound
Burke, Jesse - Oh What A Dream
Oh What A Dream
Burke, Jesse - I'll Fly Away
I’ll Fly Away
Burke, Jesse - The Pine Tree, 8
The Pine Tree, 8
Burke, Jesse - The Beast in Me
The Beast in Me
Burke, Jesse - Live Forever
Live Forever
Burke, Jesse - Cloudburst
Burke, Jesse - The Devil To Pay
The Devil To Pay
Burke, Jesse - You Dreamer You
You Dreamer You
Burke, Jesse - Daughter of a Railroad Man
Daughter of a Railroad Man
Burke, Jesse - Diamonds in the Rough
Diamonds in the Rough
Burke, Jesse - The Color of Love
The Color of Love
Burke, Jesse - Heart of Gold
Heart of Gold
Burke, Jesse - Girl from the Canyon
Girl from the Canyon
Burke, Jesse - Out Among the Stars
Out Among the Stars
Burke, Jesse - Go Wild
Go Wild
Burke, Jesse - Down in the Valley
Down in the Valley
Burke, Jesse - I See a Darkness
I See a Darkness
Burke, Jesse - Closer To The Bone
Closer to the Bone
Burke, Jesse - I Saw The Light
I Saw the Light
Burke, Jesse - I'm on Fire
I’m on Fire
Burke, Jesse - In A Young Girl's Mind
In a Young Girl’s Mind
Burke, Jesse - Look Unto the East
Look Unto the East
Burke, Jesse - Little Bit of Yesterday
Little Bit of Yesterday
Burke, Jesse - I Dreamt About Mama Last Night
I Dreamt About Mama Last Night
Burke, Jesse - Lonesome Valley
Lonesome Valley
Burke, Jesse - Lookin' Back in Anger
Lookin’ Back in Anger
Burke, Jesse - Taller Than Trees
Taller Than the Trees
Burke, Jesse - Lumberjack
Burke, Jesse - Pocahontas
Burke, Jesse - The Mystery of Life
The Mystery of Life
Burke, Jesse - One Piece at a Time
One Piece at a Time
Burke, Jesse - The Road Goes On Forever
The Road Goes On Forever
Burke, Jesse - Sweeter Than The Flowers
Sweeter Than the Flowers
Burke, Jesse - These Hands, Falcon Talon
These Hands, Falcon Talon
Burke, Jesse - Wildwood in the Pines
Wildwood in the Pines
Burke, Jesse - Winding Stream
The Winding Stream
Burke, Jesse - Woodcarver
Burke, Jesse - Wings in the Morning
Wings in the Morning
Burke, Jesse - You and Me
You and Me
Burke, Jesse - Wild Open Road
Wide Open Road
Burke, Jesse - Red Velvet
Red Velvet

A letter from Jesse Burke to his daughter Clover:

The woods are blanketed in blackness, a subtle reminder of how small and fragile we are. The fire crackles as embers float from the flames and mix with fireflies as they spiral into the sky. I sit here listening to the crickets sing you to sleep and wonder if you’re dreaming of salamanders or sunsets. We’ve been roaming all day and long into the night, out in the feral woods. We collected mica flakes on the summit of Mount Washington and watched the yellow-bellied sapsuckers drill shallow rows of sapwells. You are tired and dirty, yet radiant. My heart swells.

There are so many things I want to teach you. I want you to know which leaves belong to which trees, what the bumps of a toad feel like, the sweet smell and taste of wild honeysuckles. I want you to trust the night air, to not be afraid of spiders, to know things that I don’t, things I was never taught. I want you to feel at home in the wild.

My mind is full of moving images: you running down to the sea as the gulls laugh overhead, you collecting spindly strips of birch bark and downy striped turkey feathers, you and me quietly brushing our teeth alongside one another beneath the hum of the green fluorescent light in our motel bathroom, you ducking in and out of the massive drift logs as sunbeams cut through the dense fog behind you, and you in the backseat with your chin up and eyes tightly closed, singing along to Johnny Cash while the mountain wind rips through your hair.

Each day is a new adventure that we enter as if upon a stage. Every day you are bigger and braver. I know I can’t ask you to stay small, to stay innocent. Nature will run its course. You will change and grow. You’ll shed the velvet cloak of childhood like flowers in their final bloom before the cold of winter arrives. The metamorphosis is beautiful to watch, but heartbreaking. Oh, sweet child, I beg you to be wild, but stay precious.

Sleep well, my love. The fire calls me.

I love you to the moon and back.

Jesse Burke’s series “Wild & Precious” brings together images from a series of road trips traveled with his daughter Clover to explore the natural world. To encourage a connection between his child and nature, Burke uses these adventures to give her an education that he considers essential—one that develops appreciation, respect, conservation, and self-confidence. While on the road, father and child study and document the routes they drive, the landscapes they discover, the creatures they encounter, even the roadside motels where they sleep. This project is as much about love and parenting as it is a hands-on training manual of new age environmentalism. “Wild & Precious” reveals the fragile, complicated relationship that humans share with nature. Burke wants his children to genuinely understand how magical the world we inhabit is and how we, as humans, are an integral part of the system. He wants his children to feel a deep connection to every aspect of their surroundings.

Work by Jesse Burke

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