Chris Burkard Shares the Story of How a Trip to Norway Changed His Career

Chris Burkard has made an impressive career out of photographing adventure in some of the most beautiful places in the world. With over 2.8 million followers on Instagram, it's safe to say he is one of the most successful outdoor adventure photographers shooting right now. However, this wasn't always the case and like a lot of photographers, Burkard once found himself dissatisfied with where he was in his career. That's when a trip to Norway's Lofoten Islands changed everything. 

As part of a series by filmmaker Vincent Urban titled "#LifeChangingPlaces," this first video follows Burkard as he retells how a simple trip to Norway changed everything for him. The series which seems to be an ad campaign follows this same theme of life-changing events inspired by travel. This is a pretty interesting concept, one I can relate to. Traveling to a new location for any reason can revitalize you. Traveling for a personal project outside of your normal work can often be the catalyst for new inspiration, often taking your career or work in a new direction. Hearing Burkard narrate over the beautiful scenes of Norway alone inspires me to set out on a new adventure, to go somewhere I never thought to go and get away from the masses. 

With the popularity of travel and landscape photography on Instagram, it may sometimes feel like everywhere has been explored, but the world is a big place. There is always a new adventure to be had and beautiful places to be found.

Where would you love to explore and photograph? Have you been on a life-changing trip? Share your places and photographs in the comments. 

[via Vincent Urban]

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6 Comments

"With over 2.8 million followers on Instagram, it's safe to say he is one of the most successful outdoor adventure photographers shooting right now. "

Interesting. About once a month there's an article posted here grilling photographers who give away their work. Yet there's a persistent, converse belief that exposure does, in fact, equal success (thus has value.)

Do you think Mr. Burkard would define his success in terms of social media followers? Maybe he put in a lot of work building a following and so he does? I don't know, but I would be careful about presuming.

Michael DeStefano's picture

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at. Most articles I've read like you've said that talk about giving away work arent referring to self-promotion on social media. Though I personally think there is both pluses and negatives to DOING work for free and each individual should weigh what they see the cost vs benefits to be for themselves.
I think you underestimate just how difficult reaching 2.8 million followers for an individual photographer is. Burkard is ranked in the top five of most followed photographers. It is a sign of his success because of the amount of original creative and high-quality content he creates as a professional over and over again. Because that is what it takes to reach this level of engagement on social media.
I wasn't defining his success as a photographer by how many followers he has but claiming he has reached such a large amount of people because of his success.

"I think you underestimate just how difficult reaching 2.8 million followers"

No knock on his work but I wouldn't underestimate the herd mentality of humans. When it comes to the arts ironically the herd mentality is unusually strong. For example, you're expected to know who certain artists are so then you follow them, not just in social media but in other social settings. A common question would be do you know such and such person's work, and you're expected to know, otherwise you're looked down upon. The art world is full of pretentious snobs.

"Where would you love to explore and photograph?"

My days of international travel are over. I'm satisfied with the amount of countries I've visited. I now want to spend the rest of my life traveling in my own country, America. Luckily I'm blessed to be living in a country that is also blessed, blessed with an abundance of natural beauty.

"Have you been on a life-changing trip?"

Road trips through some of the most remote parts of America.

Elan Govan's picture

Agree with most of your observation and comments here Bob. The internet has unleashed an entire generation into global citizens interconnecting with each other without borders via their Smartphones and international travel / exploration has always been part of the human experience.

Since joining this website, I have acquired useful photographic related information everyday and I am over 60. Imagine how a young person's mind would react when they start seeing images from a far away place that they are never going to visit other than through their Smartphone.

Yes, they would want more of it. Good luck to Burkard and I wish him well and safe journey.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Shooting, editing and posting photos on my IG is not giving work away for free. In fact it's like displaying work in a museum. People can freely look at and appreciate my work which in turns eventually helps me. Social media posting is in the end, a form of self promotion. Many preach against this but followers do mean success as if you do work people will like and follow it. Once you get quite a bit of followers you can leverage your following to work with brands which is money and making money now a days = success.

Matthias Dengler's picture

I really like Chris' work!
His pictures lost a bit of their spirit and uniqueness over time though.
Anyway, he lives my dream. I don't want todo it with surfing, but with other things.
His videos, such as this, are breathtaking, beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing! :)
But I expected a bit more from the title, why exactly changed his career, which he does not really tell in this short clip.
Anyway, I know for myself how Norway changed my photography, as due to my photographic work, I gained big exposure through an interview for the flickr spotlight.
So yes, Norway rocks! Can't wait to go back!