CHRIS BURKARD - photographer
It's impossible to imagine a human being on this planet who is not familiarized with Chris Burkard's work. The globe-trotting, TED-talking Instagram phenomenon has taken the world by storm with his inspirational landscape-inspired work. While outdoor activities are usually the focal-point of his magnificent work, we've found ourselves absolutely enraptured by his series of aerial river photos from Iceland...
1. Who are you? (age, name, location, etc)
My name is Chris Burkard, Im 29 years old.. Husband and father of 2 boys. I have been a photographer since i quit my job at 19 to pursue somewhat of a nomadic lifestyle chasing surf around the California coast for Surf Magazines. I call Central California my home. Pismo Beach is where I grew up and live now.. its a rural dot on the map of California. Close to Big Sur and rolling ranch lands. I tried to live in the city but realized it scared the hell out of me. I was bred for wide open spaces that have inspired my work.. its those places that i find myself traveling back to again and again.
2. Describe your medium & process for these photos.
In the last few years i have gotten a little bored with my process; surfing photography turned into work and commercial photography becomes kinda draining. I love landscapes... but always struggled finding an approach that did them justice. In 2008, while in Iceland and flying over the glacial rivers I saw these incredible patterns and had to learn more about them. I researched and Googling what they were and realized they were sediment patterns from glacial silt being deposited in the rivers systems and flowing out in braided patterns, it was really intriguing. To be honest, I fell in love with it. So i rented a plane, got a polarizer, and started researching which rivers were best to shoot... its become an obsession.
3. How did you find your passion? Who/what influences your work?
I’ve been influenced from so many things.. nowadays its from architecture, music, as well as my traditional mediums of film and photography... but more and more, I really like seeking out art in nature, just seeing and studying the patterns I see in the landscape. I am really intrigued by aerial photography, in particular the work of Bradford Washburn, an aerial photography pioneer. Early in my career Michael Fatali was really a huge influence of my work, as well as the work of early surf photographers like Jeff Divine, Ron Stoner, and many others. I think passion is simple: it comes from being outside, seeking out places that feel wild... and inspiring others to do the same.
4. What excites you about your work? What do you struggle with?
i get excited about seeing new perspectives... thats why aerial photography has been so rad to me. Also, underwater is still a huge passion. I get excited as well about a story or a location, especially somewhere wild that feels untouched. I got into photography to trave and that's what has always pushed me along... seeing places in real life that i used to only look at on the glossy pages of magazines. I think i struggle like anyone else in the sense that i struggle to stay inspired in my work, to mix up my style, to stay relevant... but things have changed a bit. Now I struggle to be a good husband and father more than anything else, those are really my biggest concerns in life.
5. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself going?
I think for me, my goals over these last 10 years have always been the same. I want to inspire people to care about the planet and seek out these wild places. I love the fact that I can help spread that message with my work. I hope it will never be about money... for me it has never been about that. I try to keep my entire life focused around service; in one way or another I hope I can continue to help people and inspire them to get outside more. I personally think its the cure to a lot of life problems, finding your place in the outdoors. I see myself moving into more directing, more human interaction with films event, and larger more involved projects that study our relationship with the world around us.