Chris Burkard, world-renowned outdoor photographer and explorer, takes us on a journey across the seven seas. From the rugged shores of the North Atlantic to the tranquil waters of the tropics, Burkard's new book The Oceans is filled with the awe-inspiring beauty of the world's deep blue waters and provides us with an insight into Burkard's inspiration and early beginnings.
Burkard's adventures have taken him all over the world, but it was close to home where the seed of this project was planted. An early road trip along the coast of Bukkard's home state of California led to a love and deep appreciation of the ocean, its diversity, and the communities that thrive there – most notably the surfing community. A coming-of-age journey that Burkard says "Taught me that you don’t need to travel far or have a huge budget to find untamed, magical places. You can create captivating images out of things that are meaningful to you in your own backyard."
This is a lesson that we could all listen to from time to time. It is easy to get bogged down and uninspired by your local surroundings when you see images from distant exotic places all over social media. But you have the unique ability to know your surroundings better than anyone, being able to capture a perspective unlike anyone else. If you stop, be present, and take notice, the magic Burkard refers to can be found anywhere.
An early text in the book highlights Chris Burkard's early struggles with being colorblind. An incredible realization for me, as his use of color tones has always been a highlight of his work. Instead of using complementary colors, Burkard focuses on contrast when looking for a shot, looking for relationships between dark and light. Burkard states that being colorblind has "Allowed me to home in on capturing this contrast a little more than I would have been able to otherwise."
The Oceans provides an insight into regions of the globe I never knew existed, and looks like they have been taken from a Tolkien novel. A mixture of camera and drone shots show unique perspectives of distant lands and the ocean we find on our doorstep. It shows the vast beauty of the natural world and reminds us that we must do better to look after it. Through his art, Burkard encourages us to see the oceans not just as a resource to be exploited, but as a source of wonder and inspiration that deserves our respect and stewardship.
The Oceans by Chris Burkard published by Gestalten is available now at $80 / £55 / AU $126 (approximately).
If Chris Burkard has inspired you to head outdoors to take pictures at our recommendations for the best cameras for landscape photography