Chris Burkard: Mormon Photographer
Chris Burkard is a photographer with more than one million Instagram followers. He has accomplished his own childhood dream of traveling and brought his followers along with him as he posts stunning photographs of the world.
The Deseret News reported: "Photography began as a way for him to keep a record of his life but has become a career that allows Burkard, whose sponsors include Sony and Goal Zero, to travel to distant locations throughout the world capturing remote landscapes. Burkard's sense of adventure and willingness to endure extreme conditions have helped the central California native achieve popularity online, but his faith, his family and the people he has met along the way have helped him remain grounded.
At the age of 19, he realized “that this thing I wanted to do, travel, and this thing I enjoyed doing, photography, could actually come together to get me places.” Sponsors, such as Sony, GoalZero, and others, enable him to digitally capture remote landscapes. He was invited to speak about his expeditions at a TED conference, and his resulting TED talk has been viewed over 1.4 million times.
In October 2015, Burkard was invited to post on the Huffington Post Religion Instagram account and share his testimony with his photos. Alongside one photo he said, “The Lord doesn't want us to choose the easy way in life, he wants us to challenge ourselves and through those challenges we grow and evolve, we become the best versions of ourselves.” Burkard is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He joined the Church as an eight year old and at the same time his mother returned to activity in the Church.
Burkard was born in 1986 in San Luis Obispo, California, and raised in Arroyo Grande. From 2008 to 2010, he became a photographer for Surfer magazine (he is still on staff as a senior photographer); he served as senior staff photographer at Surfline, a global, surf forecasting and content site; he was also senior staff photographer for Water Magazine. He continues to work for Patagonia, Inc. as a contract project photographer. He is largely self-taught and his photographs continue to reflect his interest in surfing and the movement of water. His website bio says that his work is “layered by surf, outdoor, lifestyle and travel subjects” and that the ocean is his “main muse.” He also “portrays the humble placement of the human in contrast to nature.”
In 2009, he published California Surf Project, which documents his six-month surfing exploration down the coast of California (from the California/Oregon border to Tijuana, Mexico) with his friend, professional surfer Eric Soderquist. He was the contributing cinematographer for the film and book The Plight of the Torpedo People (2013). His other books include Russia, The Outpost Volume 1 (2013), Distant Shores (2014), Alberta (2014), The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth (2015), and High Tide (2015).
One of his favorite scriptures is found in Doctrine and Covenants 100:12: “Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end.”
Burkard and his wife, Breanne, are the parents of two sons, Forrest and Jeremiah.