“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.” — Excerpt from the book, Wild & Precious, published by Daylight Books, 2015.
Wild & Precious brings together images from a series of road trips I took with my daughter, Clover, to explore the natural world. To encourage a connection between my child and nature, I use these adventures to give her an education that I consider essential—one that develops appreciation, respect, conservation and self-confidence. While on the road, we study and document the routes we drive, the landscapes we discover, the creatures we encounter, and even the roadside motels where we sleep. Wild & Precious reveals the fragile, complicated relationship that humans share with nature. I want my children to genuinely understand how magical the world we inhabit is and how we as humans are an integral part of the system. I want them to feel a deep connection to every aspect of their surroundings.
Jesse Burke divides his time between personal art projects and commissioned work. Jesse’s work deals with themes related to vulnerability and identity, as well as human’s complicated relationship with nature. Daylight Books published his monograph, Wild & Precious, in 2015. He received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, where he now works as a faculty member. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the US and abroad, and is held in many private and public collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Jesse was recently named one of TIME’s ‘Instagram Photographers to Follow in All 50 States.’