If you know really anything about travel photography, you probably know of Chris Burkard and how influential he is in his practice—if you don’t, you’re about to.
Advanture Company released a video last week featuring the 31-year-old California native in his element: on the road, traversing his next destination with his van in search of the perfect photo. But it’s not just the photo that makes Burkard’s job worth while, it’s the experience and the build-up before the photo. The video’s stunning imagery is topped with Burkard’s words that are a unique mix of youthful simplicity and incredible wisdom, making for an authentic dose of inspiration to all creators alike.
The video portrays just how much the adventure behind his photos means to Burkard, starting with his first taste of inspiration, handed to him by Ansel Adams. In the decade Burkard has spent traveling all sides of the globe—he’s shot in 6 out of 7 continents—he still hasn’t lost that sense of genuine awe and fascination with the world, something that drives him to great lengths in capturing earth’s rawest beauty.
Burkard immerses himself in his practice, so much so that he sometimes lives out of a van while he travels, making photography a lifestyle rather than a mere profession or hobby. What started as a regular van he’d tracked down in the midwest has become the “ultimate travel photography vehicle.” Burkard turned the vehicle into a home and work space, complete with an abundance of storage units, a portal shower, a foldable bed, and a light bar atop the hood of the van. He says, “I had this sort of home on wheels…a figurative passport to take me to the places that I loved without having to leave a single thing behind.”
The most difficult thing for the photographer has been the separation from his wife and kids that often comes as a result of his near constant, rigorous travel. Burkard stresses how essential the sharing of his epic adventures with friends and family is in curating a truly fulfilling experience, and his van allows him to bring what he loves most along for the ride. A large part of inspiration behind this notion is Burkard’s childhood road trips he’d take in the summers with his grandfather—”Without even really knowing it,” Burkard says, “he had instilled in me these values about appreciating the natural world.” This admiration and respect for nature and exploring is something Burkard hopes to, in turn, instill in his children, and anyone else who will listen. If one thing is clear, it’s that though the photographer may profit off of his profession, its really his passion for artistic expression and determination in sharing the world’s inherent beauty that makes his lifestyle worth living.
Burkard leaves us with a final thought that encapsulates the wonderment of inspiration, something that only takes a spark to fuel a deep passion for creative exploration in any medium.
“It’s a huge world out there, worth exploring. I remember when I was a kid, it’s not always something you’re going to appreciate right away. But that’s ok, an idea has to start somewhere, right?”