People Meet People / Nov 27, 2015

People Meet People

People Meet People: Chris Burkard


Chris Burkard is a self-taught photographer based in San Luis Obispo, California. Known for shooting inspiring surf, outdoor, lifestyle and travel subjects, Burkard has made a global name for himself showcasing inaccessible places and inspiring people from all around the world. His skill for highlighting the contrast between human and nature facilitates powerful conversations through his images. Take a moment to sit back with Chris and learn more about what he does when he isn’t searching for wild, remote destinations and offbeat landscapes in the interview below…

What does good photography mean to you? Good photography means so many things to me. There is the technical aspect of the photo that you can list off, but to me a good photograph pulls me in as a viewer and really places you in that moment and time when the photo was taken.

Tell us about your transition from being the Senior Staff Photographer at Surfer Mag to becoming a globally recognized travel photographer? Well, I’m still on staff for Surfer Mag doing rad trips here and there, but the transition at first was pretty rough. Freelancing is always a tough gig to work in but I felt like once I found my niche and really stuck with it, things came much easier.

What do you love about living in Central California? I mean, what’s not to love about Central California? Aside from growing up there as a child, I could drive 10 minutes one way to bodysurf in the ocean, or drive 10 minutes the other way and go on an epic hike up a mountain. The weather is perfect and there is a vast amounts of different types of landscapes I can shoot all within driving distance.

What do you most look forward to at the end of the day or at the end of a trip? Definitely seeing my wife, Brea and two kids, Jeremiah and Forrest!

Are you working on any big projects you can tell us about? At the moment, not really because it is nearing the Holidays and I usually want to spend that time with my family and friends.

If you had an extra two hours everyday what would you do with it? Spend more time with my family! I know that traveling so much can be pretty tough so any extra time I find in my day I want to spend it with them.

Where is your favorite place in the world? That’s a tough one! I get asked this so many times but I always seem to fall back to Iceland. I’ve literally visited there 20 times and I can’t seem to get enough. There’s always something new to see and experience each time I travel there.

What does leisure mean to you? Leisure means different things — it could be me taking a walk with my wife and kids or getting the best bodysurfing waves at the beach.

If there was one thing you wanted to tell people about pursuing photography what would it be? KEEP SHOOTING! I’ve been doing this for 10 years and I know I have to keep shooting to hone my craft and grow as a photographer. It takes dedication and hard work to really make it in this business.

How are you so good at communicating with your community? I don’t know if I’m necessarily good at communicating but I just sometimes try to speak to others as I would myself. If those words don’t sound natural and true to me then I probably wouldn’t be one to say them and I think because of that my community respects that and can really connect with the things I have to say.

How do you manage your work/life balance? I think manage is an understatement as I’m always finding myself busy but the only way I can manage any of this and find sanity is by spending time with my loved ones. Without them to ground me, I think I’d be in a spiral of nonstop trips!

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View more photography from Chris Burkard on his Website and Instagram.