Burk Uzzle grew up in the south, began working at the age of 14, got his first full-time job as a photographer at age 17, became LIFE’s youngest contract photographer at age 23, and has twice been elected president of Magnum. In spite of, or because of, his intrepid nature—he has traveled throughout American and Europe many times—he has said it is the small towns and ordinary places that interest him most. His unique view of the persons, places and oddities that define the singular and diverse character of America fills five monographs; Progress Report on America, Chrysler Museum, 1992; All American, Aperture, 1985; Landscapes, Magnum, 1973; A Family Named Spot, Five Ties, 2006; and his first book of color photographs, Just Add Water, Five Ties, 2007. Vicki Goldberg's essay for Just Add Water contains an apt description of Uzzle's approach to picture-making:
He’s conducted a visual love affair with America for years.Uzzle likes her funny face and doesn’t want her to change a hair for him. He sympathizes with her bad moods, her tragedies, her rather glaring imperfections, her obstreperous beauty, her unlikely aspirations. He is as fond of, and amused by, a bush having a really bad hair day at the side of the road as he is of a tree that ate a bicycle and couldn’t digest it.