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Chris Burkard is a self-taught photographer and artist, based in Central Coast California, whose work is layered by surf, outdoor, lifestyle and travel subjects. 

Burkard’s images are punctuated by energized landscapes and moments of bliss, by adventure seeking and the lifestyle that ensues, by movement and intuitive light-working capabilities. With ocean as his main muse, Burkard has consistently captured this subject in timeless and expansive photographic impressions, utilizing the tool of surfing to approach the ocean’s intricate personality and then extending out to include the human personalities that draw meaning from this same source. Searching for wild, remote destinations and offbeat landscapes, Burkard portrays the humble placement of the human in contrast to nature. At the age of 30, Burkard has established himself as a known name in the surf and outdoor industries, accomplished a deep body of work, held staff and senior photographer positions and has been recognized continually for his distinct creative compositions. Currently, Burkard serves as Senior Staff Photographer for Surfer Magazine, contributes regularly to various international publications and is a project photographer for several respected brands. Burkard has completed multiple book projects, one with friend and co-author Eric Soderquist, titled “The California Surf Project” (2006) and the other, “Plight of the Torpedo People,” accompanying Patagonia body surfing film, “Come Hell or High Water” (2012).  Russia: The Outpost Vol. 1 (2013) from a surf adventure in Russia and Distant Shores (2013) a comprehensive look at Burkard’s career through images from 10 of his favorites countries. In 2015, Burkard published The Boy Who Spoke to Earth (2015) a children’s illustration book, and also High Tide (2015) a compilation of all his surf photos. Burkard joined the Instagram online community in 2012 and over the course of 3 years he reached a following of over 1 million people in September 2015. Burkard and his wife, Breanne, have two sons Jeremiah and Forrest. They live in their hometown of Grover Beach.


  • PMDA Visionary Photographer Award (2016)
TED Talk – Vancouver, Canada (2015)
  • Red Bull Illume Spirit Award (2012)
  • The World Open of Photography- Open Category Winner (2012)
  • Red Bull Illumination Winner I (2010)
  • Red Bull Illume Image Quest Overall (2010
  • First Annual Follow the Light Award Winner (2008)
  • Flame Grant Award for Best Emerging Photographer (2006)
  • Morro Bay Art Society Award (2005)


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