Festival Mégapixel

Californian photographer Chris Burkard, Red Bull Illume 2010 winner, presents his WATER WORLD exhibit at Mégapixel - Photography Festival in Shawinigan, QC. On Friday, October 7th, hundreds of people attended the festival opening featuring local photographers as well as Chris Burkard.


About Chris Burkard

Chris Burkard is well known as a unique visionary whose photography as the ability to catapult the viewer into the moment. At 24 years old, Chris has accomplished a style and composition all his own, leaving many to instantly recognize a "Burkard Photo". Through his photography, Chris strives to capture the moments in between, and to document the lifestyle of the sport, not just the action. He has served as a freelance photographer for numerous publications, including staff photographer for Surfline.com and Water Magazine.

Currently, Chris serves as staff photographer for Surfer Magazine, and submits images to various international publications. Within Chris' last five years of working as a professional photographer, he has been recognized as the First Annual Follow the Light Award Winner. Chris was named the 2010 Red Bull Illume Image Quest Overall and Illumination category winner. Chris is now on the Red Bull Illume Photo Exhibit Tour until 2013.


During the festival opening, we were lucky to get a chance to catch up with Chris Burkard via Skype and chat with him about his passion for photography. Here's what he had to say.

Where does your passion for photography come from?

My passion comes from the sports itself, the lifestyle, and the actions around it.

You always aim to document the lifestyle of the sport more than the action, how do you achieve this?

I like to take pictures that people will be able to relate to. People can relate more to the culture of surf than the people who are actually able to ride big waves. There are only a select number of people who can really hard conditions, but many people can be a part of surf culture.

In your photographs, what do you want the viewers to see?

I want the viewers to see the lifestyle of the sport, not just the action. To be able to experience the moment. It’s not about seeing the image, it’s about feeling it.

Where your inspiration comes from?

Inspiration comes from being outside, playing in nature. The simple things.

Unique lighting and silhouettes are your specialty. What are your biggest challenge?

The conditions. In order to capture the right lighting and silhouettes amongst weather, storms, etc… you may only have a 15 minute window to get the right shot.

You like your images to remain timeless. Do you have a photograph which inspires you?

Old surf photographs and movies, where the images are very clean. There is nothing to associate the picture to a specific era (no sponsors, no buildings, nothing that defines it as being a specific year).

Let's talk about the image you submitted to Red Bull Illume in 2010. Can you explain the conditions of your photo shoot?

I was on a two-week assignment for Surfer Magazine in Chile. The first 10 days it rained every day, all day. Finally, I woke up and it was a beautiful day. I knew I had to go out and capture that moment.

The image featured athlete Peter Mendia at Buchupero, Chile. Have you been working with him for a long time?

Yes, we’ve travelled together to Spain and France. He’s a great travel partner, always up for a trip and when it comes time to perform to get the shot, he’s able to do so.

The waves were huge, the shore break was big, the offshores' plumes were high, and you decided to risk it. With water going 10 feet above his head, what were you thinking at that moment?

I had to take in all the conditions in order to get into the right spot to take the picture. That being said, safety is obviously also an issue, and I needed to make sure that I didn’t put myself in too much risk.

Tell us more about your exhibit entitled "Water World"

My goal behind the exhibit was to take people on a surf trip with me, to pack them in my suitcase, and let them experience the culture behind the sport.



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