Chris Burkard - Seeking Beauty Through Adventure

Chris Burkard is a prolific photographer, filmmaker, and author who is known for diving headfirst into epic adventures, documenting them with his camera, and producing one-of-kind stories that resonate deeply with millions of people around the world. He’s bikepacked across Iceland in winter, scouted cold-water surf breaks in British Columbia, and explored some of the lesser-known corners of the American West—just to name a few. In all his work, Chris combines his abundant positive energy with curiosity and authenticity, which has earned him the admiration of fellow accomplished artists, well-known brands, and nearly four million Instagram followers.

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Earlier this week, Chris released his newest book titled "Wayward"– a collection of some of his best and never-before-seen photographs from some of the wildest places on earth. "Wayward" also features extensive written stories that detail his fascinating career path and the challenges, mistakes, and adventures that made him the artist he is today. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of the book, and I read it in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it. The photographs are obviously stunning, but what I really appreciated was Chris’s willingness to share the many lessons he’s learned along his professional journey– lessons that I (and maybe you) can apply to your own creative endeavors.

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If you’ve been listening to Mountain & Prairie for the past few years, then you surely remember my first conversation with Chris during the first few weeks of the pandemic. I was thrilled to have Chris join me again, this time for an inspiring conversation about "Wayward," creativity, adventure, fatherhood, and more. We talked about what he’s learned during the pandemic, the process of writing "Wayward," and why, in this high-tech world, he remains committed to publishing physical books. We discuss the importance of being yourself, how he overcomes self-doubt, and who he trusts to give him honest feedback. Chris also talks about how he evaluates risk, discusses how working with Patagonia helped him to find his voice as a photographer, explains his passion for sharing his experiences with others, and much more. Be sure to check the episode notes for a full list of everything we discuss and links to all the information.

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A huge thanks to Chris for making the time to chat with me again, especially during such a busy travel schedule. And whether you’re interested in beautiful photos or learning lessons from an accomplished creative, I encourage you to check out "Wayward." 

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Thanks for listening. Hope you enjoy!

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TOPICS DISCUSSED

  • 5:00 - How the pandemic has been for Chris and his family
  • 9:25 - Process of writing the book
  • 14:00 - Thoughts when looking back at his early work
  • 17:30 - Early challenges and localism
  • 23:45 - Patagonia's role in Chris's artistic evolution
  • 27:40 - Importance of having the confidence to be yourself
  • 31:30 - Overcoming self-doubt
  • 33:45 - People Chris trusts to give honest opinions
  • 36:45 - How Chris transitions from hardcore adventures back into "real life"
  • 40:30 - Reevaluation of risk as he gets older
  • 42:40 - Lessons from suffering
  • 44:00 - Why Chris continues to focus his creative energy on books
  • 54:00 - Importance of sharing the experiences with others
  • 58:30 - Projects in the works

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