In Focus >>> Chris Burkard

On March 7, 2016 by creativewavemovement

In rare form- in exquisite form- Chris Burkard refines our perspective on photography: not only through line and technique, but through thoughtful reflection. He positions himself much like that of a teacher: Master Sensei of the senses; a psychedelic, kaleidoscope of precision. Insanely pure colors in every image – a moment of Karate Kid will kick in soon.

If you’ve experienced one of his photographs – experience, being the optimal word-choice - you’re familiar with the utopia-like trajectory your head begins to spin in: an escapade across two continents; five varying nations, along with three small villages, have now reached the top of your bucket list…

Very problematic.

PHOTO: Chris Burkard

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

And ever since Chris made the switch at age 19 to give this visual, “I-think-I’ll-tell-a-story,” a go, his work has been inciting all kinds of dream-chasing and sick-travelling; breeding all sorts of adventure-bending, like that of his epic imagery gives way to.

It appears as though a slice of Heaven is closer than we think, ladies and gents.

CreativeWave Movement took a moment to understand a little bit more deeply why Chris Burkard has measured up to the unthinkably sound task of giving life through imagery. Here is our conversation:

CreativeWave Movement: There’s an intangible piece that you see in your photos, Chris: it’s life-breathing and life-giving. It’s an element that I know comes only from the perspective and personal experience of the one communicating through the lens. Describe to me what your photographic philosophy is.

Chris Burkard: My philosophy when approaching photography is based around fulfilling the desire to always be exploring. The camera is simply a vessel that I use to express my love for the outdoors and adventure. If one were to look at my work, I think that they would be able to see a pattern in how I’ve captured people experiencing the raw environments that our world has to offer. It’s this coupling of nature and humanity that I think is so amazing, and I do my best to express that exploratory spirit in all of my projects.

CWM: I can see that – and I can tell that many others do, as well. I’ve always known that the ability to communicate such a powerful message – without words – is such an amazing gift. Had you always sensed that this would be your life’s work? If not, what urged the career shift?

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

CB: Photography is a tough industry to set foot in; and, like everyone else, I started my career by working long hours. I’ve always been drawn to storytelling and that’s what made me make that leap when I was 19. I felt like I owed it to myself to at least give it a shot. At the time, I was working a job I hated, I told myself I’d give it 4 years of really pursuing it and reevaluate after those 4 years. I drove for hours to do unpaid internships and spent a lot of time sleeping and living in my car. There were definitely difficulties, but I stuck through it and learned as much as I could at those internships.

CWM: Wow - I don’t think anyone would know that about your story. But, I must confess, many of us – if not, most of us – can relate to it… preparation for something great. I’d like to think we are each ambassadors of something greater than ourselves. Although we may not understand it fully, what do you think is a greater reason- beyond yourself - you’ve been given the gift of photography and travel?

CB: One of the main reasons why I shoot what I do is to inspire people to get out and explore Mother Nature. I’ve always been so inspired by nature. It was first the ocean, and then the vast landscapes of places like Yosemite, Switzerland and Iceland. Even though I often shoot in faraway places, my goal is to create images that inspire the everyday person to go on adventures and to feel like it is accessible to [them]. Accessibility is key to making lasting and epic photos.

CWM: Yes it is…

CB: It’s about making people connect and to be honest, I think that so much of what we see is just way out of reach for most people.

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

CWM: It is, and many times, the thought is to live through the image, which is what you provide as an artist. And as an artist and creative mind myself, it’s interesting how we do find ourselves craving for deeper ways in which our talents can better serve the world around us. Have you found yourself at that juncture in life; and if so, what is your constant hope with each moment captured?

CB: I am always looking to inspire the younger generation. Recently, an illustrator friend of mine came to me with this idea: to create a children’s book based on the ideals of always exploring and seeking out something beautiful and new. We took pictures from my portfolio as inspiration for the artwork, which was such a tangible way for me to be involved in such a cool project. The Boy Who Spoke to Earth is a culmination of hard work. Having two sons of my own, I wanted this book to share the love I have for the outdoors with them; in a way that they would understand and appreciate.

CWM: I bet they loved that – how incredible.

CB: The cool thing is that my sons aren’t the only ones who are able to benefit from that book, but kids everywhere will hopefully see it and a creative fire will be lit inside them to go out and see what nature has to offer. I think this book was sort of one of those opportunities to serve others a bit more, as well as just [instilling] a new way to inspire people and a younger generation.

CWM: It was, and I sense that there is more of that for you to come in the future. Being the creator of CreativeWave Movement, I am completely convinced that we each have a place in empowering one another. What’s your perspective on the power that our talents have in empowering and inspiring others?

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

CB: I completely agree with you.

CWM: Yeah, exactly – right?

CB: There’s somewhat of a responsibility I feel we have to share what we create with others.

CWM: Yes.

CB: I’m a huge proponent of sharing content for the sole purpose of one person seeing it and deciding that they’ll live their life a bit differently. And hopefully, that decision will help fill a void with a joy.

CWM: Yes, and again, it is clear that your work is serving in that way. I feel like, with every photograph you’ve taken, I see a very clear joy in adventuring. Whether through the clarity in color or range of composition – you can just see it. What lessons have you learned through adventuring? Ones that may even be carried to the next generation.

CB: Travelling the world has definitely given me my fair share of lessons. With each new adventure, I’ve learned something new.

CWM: Makes sense.

CB: I’d have to say – the preparation that goes into each trip is so incredibly vital; but being flexible is most important.

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

CWM: That’s GOOD – good message right there.

CB: So many times, I go to never-before surfed coastlines in search [of] waves. I plan [the] entire excursion based off a picture; but sometimes, you get there, and there’s nothing!

CWM: Wow!

CB: It’s completely flat. It’s in those moments that you really have to re-evaluate a situation and make the best out of it by doing something that you wouldn’t have tried before.

CWM: Absolutely. Redirecting perspective: there’s so much to that. Switching gears a bit: I want to know what your future hope for your photography and travel is. Do you have any thoughts on where you hope both to be?

CB: Honestly, I hope to continue to be able to travel and inspire others to want to see the world. There are so many places on this earth I haven’t been able to explore; even if the rest of my life was dedicated to travelling, I don’t think I’ll be able to see them all. But, I’m okay with that. More for the future generations to discover!

CWM: How about that!

CB: I think the key is that I want to inspire people to go to these wild places. To seek out the unknown, and ultimately not be afraid of a little mystery or of being a bit uncomfortable …. or maybe a lot.

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)

(PHOTO: Chris Burkard)


To follow Chris on his endless discovery of adventure, visit his Instagram + Facebook + YouTube


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