Chris Burkard is not your typical surf photographer, unlike other photographers who migrate to the southern hemisphere and tropical shores for the winter months to stay warm, Chris does the exact opposite, looking for the most baron, uncomfortable surf spots around the world! But it’s paid off!
Chris Burkards portfolio demonstrates true skill and creativity through photography and opens our eyes to some not so stereotypical surf spots around the globe – mostly in freezing cold regions. His travels have taken him out of his home town across to the Nordics, Iceland and Russia – a far cry from the warm sunny shores of California.
Here at Blue Rapture we will be following Chris and his camera around the world, reporting on his latest projects and showcasing some of his finest work. So stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for some truely amazing, and not so stereotypical, surf photography…
Where were you born and raised?
Pismo Beach, California and I’ve lived on the Central coast of California my whole life.
What inspires you to do what you do and why do you do it?
What inspires me is traveling. That’s where my heart is: traveling and seeing the world. I don’t travel to find myself. I travel to experience new things and share them with people. The places that I go and the things I’ve endured for work are a little brutal, but I’m okay with that. I like to suffer a little for what I do. It makes me feel more alive.
Where did your journey as an artist begin?
That’s a good question. There are a couple different milestones that have shaped my career but in terms of the actual start I felt my ability as an artist start to take shape in high school art class. The first camera I picked up was at a Goodwill auction for 65 bucks. It never worked… not even a single roll of film came out. Soon after, I got another camera and was obsessed with shooting film. It was a Nikon N90s. I took a black and white photography class in junior college, and from that point on, I was hooked. I saw the camera as an extension of my body where I could take it anywhere and share my experiences with others.
How did you eventually get you where you are today?
I decided to stop messing around in life early. I knew what I wanted to do and I did it. I think there’s a lot to be said for giving up some things for others that are more valuable. I took advantage of living close to the ocean and I shot as much as I could. I also tried to share as much of my work with others and learn through working with others and getting feedback on my work.
What would you consider to be unique about your work compared to similar photographers, artists or designers?
My surf experience has always been destitute and kind of esoteric: swimming through cold, sharky areas looking for surf. It’s really a search, a journey. I gravitate towards projects that speak that language. Cold water locations like Iceland and Norway get me super excited. I love the Malibu scene, but it’s never been me.
What do you consider to be your favourite project to date?
Russia was an insane trip. It’s like the wild wild west out there. The trip had every aspect of adventure you could want. We traveled around the country by military vehicle and military helicopters. We were making our own roads and camping alongside bear tracks. Russia has such a raw landscape with volcanic peaks looming in the distance and visible from the beach. It was the trip of a lifetime.
What tools or techniques do you use to produce your work?
With photography, people get really caught up in fads and equipment and megapixel wars. It’s kinda ridiculous. My thought process is, the more simple — and lean — your setup, the more you are going to rely on creativity to get the best images. I use primarily Sony gear. I’m shooting a lot on the Sony A7 recently. One other aspect of photography I am mindful of is to shoot timeless photos that will speak to people in generations from now.
Favourite Surfer: I really respect and work with the Malloys a lot. Keith is a super great human and I’ve always had a great respect for the way Dan Malloy surfs.
Favourite Surf Spot: Pismo Pier!
Life Idol: Dalai Llama
Favourite thing to do to relax: Yoga
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