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Photographer Chris Burkard on Conservation, Fearlessness, and Sony Cameras (Sponsored)

Justin Quintal standing under the northern lights while filming for Under an Arctic Sky. Shot with Sony a7S II with 35mm f1.4 ©Chris Burkard/Massif

Photographer Chris Burkard has navigated frozen waters, survived rugged waves, and walked beaches so remote they don’t have names. He’s smiled his way through harsh blizzards, braved arctic winds, and come face-to-face with some of the wild animals who call this planet their home.

Burkard was only nineteen years old when left his job at the time to become a professional surf photographer, and his connection with water has only become stronger over the years. “My entire life I’ve lived less than a mile from the ocean,” he recently wrote on Instagram, where he has well over two and a half million followers.

But Burkard isn’t your typical surf photographer. “I set out to find the places others had written off as too cold, too remote, and too dangerous to surf,” he told the audience in a TED talk a few years ago. For his book Distant Shores, he documented surfing on six of the seven continents on earth.

His film Under An Arctic Sky tells the story of six surfers who made the journey to Iceland right before the arrival of the worst storm in a quarter-century. They risked everything for a shot at once-in-a-lifetime waves, and with just three hours of sunlight per day, their journey was illuminated by the aurora borealis.

The film is currently touring, and Burkard made time in his packed schedule to tell us a bit about his process and motivations. Below, he shares some of his most memorable stories and insights into the importance of conservation. He also gives us a peek into his camera bag and reveals how he uses Sony mirrorless cameras to make the photographs the Sierra Club once called “too good to be true.”

Haunting Images from ‘Poland’s Rust Belt’

“A shortcut across a frozen lake.” © Tomasz Liboska

“Mieczyslaw no longer works at the mine, but at least no one cares about his long hair anymore.” © Tomasz Liboska

“A mother worries about her son’s fading football club emblem. When the colors are gone, she won’t be able to revive them. Her son died of a heart attack.” © Tomasz Liboska

“In the communist era, Upper Silesia was the promised land,” Polish photographer Tomasz Liboska told us of the place he’s called home for ten years. People from all over the country came to Upper Silesia following the Second World War in search of hard work and prosperity for their families. Steel plants and coal mines flourished.

Poetry-inspired portraits in Cuban interiors

Like many, London-based photographer Gillian Hyland was initially drawn to Cuba for its nostalgic appeal. With the lack of internet and iconic 1950s cars, it can really feel like being transported back in time—bar the peeling paint on Spanish-built façades that serves as a reminder that time has passed.

Love, Forgiveness, and Humility in the Photos of Adger Cowans

Al Pacino and Kitty Winn in Panic in Needle Park, from Personal Vision by Adger Cowans © 2017, published Glitterati Incorporated

Balloons of Colombus, Ohio, from Personal Vision by Adger Cowans © 2017, published Glitterati Incorporated

Photographer Adger Cowans hails from an historic American family. His great-great-grandfather was a Buffalo Soldier, the first all-black division of the U.S. Army formed after the Civil War. His cousin, Dr. Early Sherrard, was a member of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-black division of the U.S. Air Force that fought in World War II; his story was immortalized in the film Fight for Life starring Morgan Freeman as Earl.

Live Music Photographer Chad Wadsworth Lightens His Load with Sony Mirrorless Cameras (Sponsored)

Kehlani backstage before her set at ACL Fest 2015. Shot with the Sony RX1

Spoon photographed in Jim Eno’s studio on December 20th, 2016 – Almost 11 years to the day of Wadsworth’s first concert shoot with the band in 2005. Shot with the A7RII

Austin music photographer Chad Wadsworth is persistent. Early on in his career, he shot live events just for the joy of it– without any guarantee that his pictures would be published anywhere. If he didn’t have tickets, he’d show up anyway and hope for the best. A lot has changed over the course of his career, but one thing remains the same: rain or shine, Wadsworth is willing to go the extra mile. In fact, the last time he photographed Austin City Limits music festival (it was his tenth time shooting there), he walked thirty-three miles over the course of a single weekend.  

Music photography is a challenge anywhere, let alone in “The Live Music Capital of the World,” but Wadsworth has managed not only to break into the industry but also to stay on top of it. His pictures continue to grace the pages of magazines like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and SPIN, and he holds the title of Global Red Bull photographer.

Wadsworth has also been named a Sony Artisan of Imagery, joining an elite group of some of the world’s best photographers. In this role, he will work alongside the brand to help develop the next generation of cameras.

“Festivals are a war waged on the body,” Wadsworth has said. But since he’s teamed up with Sony and switched over to their lightweight series of mirrorless cameras, it’s all gotten much easier. He still has to be persistent– that’s the name of the game in music photography– but now, he has the freedom to move and catch the elusive moments others might miss.

Bushwick, Brooklyn Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

Those who reside in the Brooklyn neighbourhood that is Bushwick may or may not be familiar with its original 17th century Dutch name ‘Boswijk’, which can be translated as “little town in the woods”. Israeli Artist Niv Rozenberg’s bold, graphical series of the same name highlights the diversity of architectural form that he has come to appreciate in this locality.

Photos Document a Dying Cheese-Making Tradition in the French Alps

First snow at Plan du Lac (2,385 m) and on the Grande Casse (3,855 m), September 2016

House and cheese-making workshop of the Bantin family, Chavière, September 2016

An appreciation of cheese might sound like a strange point of departure for a photo project, but sometimes it’s the ‘little’ things that really define our lived experiences. Annecy, France based photographer Nicolas Blandin was eating in a fancy restaurant in Annecy-le-Vieux in 2010 when he first tasted the Termignon blue cheese, a rare variety that is largely unknown in France.

“In the Park” with Diane Arbus

Diane Arbus
A young man and his girlfriend with hot dogs in the park, N.Y.C. 1971

During the late 1960s, a shift began to occur as New York City underwent the rapid effects of deindustrialization. As business left the city, a void took its place. But nature abhors a vacuum and new cultures began to emerge, one that could make something out of nothing at all.

As the counterculture took root, seeing possibility in the collapse of the middle class and the repeal of respectability politics that it used as overt measures of social control, a New York emerged from the fringe and found its way on to the city stage. The parks were the best place for those who did without, offering a place to socialize as well as to sleep.

For Diane Arbus, the park was the place where she could happen upon the most unlikely encounters with the most random of souls. She began photographing in Central Park in 1956, at the very beginning of her work as a serious artist. For the next fifteen years, she returned time and again to Central and Washington Square Parks for a fresh dose of the unexpected.

Edward Burtynsky’s Striking Images of India’s Salt Pans

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky describes the terrain of the Little Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, India, as “scorched,” “cracked,” and “parched.” The Guardian’s Oliver Wainwright compares it to cat litter. Between October and June of every year, the Agariya people live along the salt pans, harvesting salt in temperatures so extreme they must work barefoot.

Portraits Revisit the New Romanticism Movement In the UK

Duggie Fields b.1945
The artist Duggie Fields is celebrated for his large- scale canvasses featuring bright blocks of colour and razor edged outlines. Gwinnutt photographed Fields in his Earls Court flat, in front of his painting Lakshmi, a tribute to the Hindu goddess of good fortune. Fields’s forelock of hair is neatly encased in the lines of his painting, a subtle detail that transforms the photograph into a play of shapes and tones, with a flatness that is characteristic of Fields’s work.

When Swinging London collapsed, the Pop-optics faded away. The bright cheerful colors of promise became muted, grubby, and grey as the city fell into created desperate times. The rising tide of unemployment, set against an on-going recession, brought the conservatives to fore, and through them a new leader was.

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became the first woman to assume the mantle and she went hard: deregulating the financial sector, privatizing state-owned companies, and reducing the power of trade unions. She spoke for the elite and was largely unpopular until victory in the 1982 Falklands War.

During those intervening years, a new generation was coming of age, embracing the D.I.Y. ethos of punk and taking it far beyond the reaches of the known. The scene, which came to be known as the New Romantics, was centered at the Blitz, a nightclub in the Covent Garden section of London.

If ever there was a fitting name, it was this. At the Blitz, a fantastical coterie of artists, musicians, designers, filmmakers, and performers came dressed to kill, wearing handmade pieces that could best be described as Ziggy Stardust on acid. The Blitz Kids, as they were known, took that art of the poseur to the next level. The donned costumes and makeup that blurred gender lines, sometimes going so far as to erase the human element in the search for an identity that spoke to the moment.

British photographer David Gwinnutt was one of the creatures of the night, getting to know the curious and compelling personalities that sparkled under the strobe lights. He had taken up photography after discovering the work of Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe in the London studio of artist Brian Clarke. David Bailey was a frequent visitor, sharing stories and scandals that enticed.

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