Famed photographer Jessica Burstein, who helped capture the Law & Order franchise, has died after a battle with lung cancer, according to her sister. She was 76. She died April 11 at her home in Manhattan, her sister Patricia Burstein told The New York Times.
Born in Mineola, New York on April 7, 1947, Jessica grew up in nearby Lawrence. After she graduated from New York University in 1968, she spent several years working for commercial photographer Bert Stern. Then, in 1974, she became what is believed to be the first woman to serve as a staff photographer at NBC.
Jessica didn’t meet Dick Wolf, the creator of Law & Order, until the early 90s. He hired her to photograph weekly crime scenes for the original series and eventually became the show’s photographer from 1994 to 2010 when the show was canceled. (It was renewed for 2022.)
She photographed spinoffs including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit from 2007, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent from 2011. When she’s not working on the hit crime drama, Jessica is popular. A restaurant and celebrity hangout, Elaine’s, eventually became her virtual studio from 1992 to 2011 at the request of the owner.
She was also assigned to photograph the new Yankee Stadium as it was being built. She has two published books, including The Grandmother Book: A Celebration of Family and Law & Order Crime Scenes, in which she collaborated with her sister Patricia. She created the last looks to commemorate the final season of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
Throughout her career, her work has been exhibited in private and corporate collections, galleries, and museum exhibitions, as well as appearing in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, TV Guide, Rolling Stone, People, Time, and Vanity Fair. And from 2007 to 2013, she served on the International Cinematographers Guild’s National Executive Board.