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27 Frames – Chris Burkard

Welcome to our 27 Frames series. We sent 27 single use cameras out to some of our favorite photographers, they shot stuff with it, then mailed it back to us. We developed the film and are sharing the results with you (and the photographers) now. In this instant, digital age, we want to pay homage to a snapshot photo process we grew up with ourselves — waiting for the film to develop and being surprised by the results. These 27 Frames belong to Chis Burkard.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Chris Burkard and I am an outdoor, adventure, and surf photographer from Pismo Beach, CA. My travels first began by searching for perfect waves around the world; I quickly became enthralled with capturing the beauty of some of the farthest expanses of Earth.

How did you first get into photography?

As a young kid I have always been interested in art, I would draw landscapes of the California coast and mountains for hours. I think it all came together when I was able to figure out a way to combine these areas in my life that I felt so strong and passionate about. Photography really is the way I am able to use all of my passions and strengths, it enables me to hone my craft using art as a platform to be outside.

Film or digital?

I shot a lot of 35mm and medium format film when I was younger and still occasionally play around with it but 99% of my time is spent with a digital camera. I have so much respect for guys who have built their career around shooting analog.

When was the last time you used a single use (disposable) camera?

On a family vacation when I was a kid! I can’t distinctly remember but that would be my best guess as to the last time I’ve shot with a disposable camera.

What did you decide to shoot with your camera for this project?

This camera has been all over. Through the gnarliest winter I’ve ever experienced in Iceland, a trip to Yosemite, and some local places. I thought it best to shoot some in-between moments.

Did you have any interesting experiences along the way?

While in Iceland we got some incredible surf in areas that had rarely been surfed before. I knew we were truly scoring when I saw how amped the local Icelandic surfers were, even they said it was the best they’d ever seen any of the spots. I shot the Yosemite images as we were doing a series of 3 hikes through the park that ended up totaling over 120 miles. Being able to spend that amount of time in the wilderness was such a refreshing experience.

What was the biggest challenge (if any) you had with the project?

In Yosemite we would start the trails with the intention of reaching key locations right when the light would get good; the project was such a challenge logistically to ensure we could take advantage of the sunrise and sunset at the right locations. Achieving this ended up being much more difficult than we thought as it was impossible to calculate a steady pace due to how much we were photographing. There were a few times where we were 10-15 miles into the hike, we had a mile to go, and the sun would begin to set. I was so beat but knew we had to run as fast as we could to get there before the sun fully dipped behind the horizon. I couldn’t help but laugh as all of us with fully loaded camp/camera packs were clumsily trying to sprint up the trail. It was such a physically demanding project but I had so much fun in the process.

What was your favorite image from the roll?

[The one of the guy overlooking the cliff at sunset] All we could do once we got to Taft Point was sit in marvel as the sun began to set. Nobody for as far as the eye could see, we sat in silence and listened to the wind blow up the sheer valley walls. 

Check out more of Chris’s work here:

Chris Burkard

Special thanks to Dexter’s Camera in Ventura for developing all of the film for the 27 Frames project. If you are a photographer who loves film and have never visited their shop, go there now, they’re the best.

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