I often get asked how I became involved with photography. The answer is quite transparent to me - my passion for art and being in the water. Coming out of high school, I knew that I loved art but I had not yet found a way to artistically express myself. This innate artistic curiosity led me to buy my first camera from a local thrift store, which led me to explore artistic perspective. Shortly thereafter, I became enthralled with taking pictures and the creative outlet that it represented to me. I was captivated with the camera, taking pictures, and trying to learn as much as I could. I combined this thirst for knowledge with my passion for being in the water and began shooting surf images of my friends, which has since expanded my photography career and led me to travel and photograph the most remote and “distant shores” of the earth.
The camera represents the perfect marriage of expressing creativity and being in the elements of the world that I love so much. Whether that be me freezing equally as much as the athlete that I am shooting, or getting mud thrown in my face from the car passing by, my passion for adventure and creativity has been my driving force to constantly strive to catapult the viewer to experience the smell, the touch, and the thrill of the moment. This is what Distant Shores: Surfing the Ends of the Earth represents to me; a collaboration of travel, art, photography, and adventure; from the frozen Artic of Iceland to the culturally rich India. With every photo taken, rather than simply capturing images like caging animals, I always try to compose my shots with the same skill and quality that a conductor might direct an orchestra.
Distant Shores: Surfing the Ends of the Earth is a definitive representation of some of my favorite locations in the world, locations that I have visited more than once in my life, locations that are seemingly untouched by civilization.
Iceland is among my favorites as it is a land of contrast. Green summers, bright skies, and little darkness, contrasted with cold winters, grey skies, and little daylight.
Russia is another location that I am especially drawn to and serves as one of the most memorable experiences of my life thus far. I was fortunate enough to travel to the Kamchatka Peninsula, a remote location, not even located on a map. I found the landscape to be so raw and untouched that I felt as if I was among the first people to have ever laid eyes on the place. Travel was by military helicopter or ex-military tanks while scouring the coast for untouched waves. Being in such secluded locations of the globe and meeting the people that make these places part of such a diverse world are part of what motivate me to continue to travel and capture the globe’s most uncharted territories. Photographers are meant to tell stories and that is exactly what I strive to do with each and every photo that I take.
Surfing the “Ends of the Earth” means something different to every individual. To me, it has meant traveling to Mexico and experiencing perfect waves and sandy white beaches. It has meant traveling to Iceland, Russia, and Norway, experiencing the coldest temperatures ever imaginable, all the while viewing the most beautiful and desolate coastlines untouched by cultural norms. Whether you prefer tropical or sub-zero climates, Distant Shores: Surfing the Ends of the Earth exposes to the endless possibilities and locations of the wanderlust in all of us.
As a photographer, inspiring others to travel to the “Distant Shores” of the earth is quite simply the most gratifying part of my job and is exactly why I do what I do.
Text by Chris Burkard
In association with Ammo Books