Q & A: Chris Burkard + Ōlloclip Exhibit: “A Gallery For Ants”

Patrick O’Neil, CEO and founder of Ōlloclip, created the mobile-photography device through a KickStarter crowd-funding platform some time way back. The Ōlloclip evolved into a reality seemingly overnight with its user-friendly, clip-on-clip-off capabilities. Ōlloclip has appealed to a multitude of users, amateur to professionals alike, with distribution through Apple retail stores worldwide and leading retailers across the globe. If you don’t have this gadget, chances are you’ve seen it and you really want it.

From Central Coast California to Indo to Nicaragua, Iceland, and even Alaska, Chris Burkard has made a livelihood of constantly carving the boundaries until they’re beckoning waves surrendering beneath his board. California native and surf enthusiast, Burkard has set a new record and it’s morbidly small. The 28-year-old self-taught landscape and surf photographer has ventured to some of the worlds most remote places and captured some of the most uniquely, chilling photos of wave riding you can imagine using the Ōlloclip. Ōlloclip presented them in an intimate gallery at Huntington Beach’s Shorebreak Hotel. Photos were minute to the eye but colossal in detail, only to be viewed through the Macro 3-in-1 photo lens.

We dropped in and caught a zoomed in approach from the artist himself:

LACANVAS: The world’s smaller art gallery on record, WOW, what inspired this?

CHRIS BURKARD: I think it’s this idea of using mobile-photography as a means of communication and exploration. Some of the photos I shoot with my iPhone are the most intimate and personal ones because I’m leaving my other camera behind and I’m just going out to experience something. It’s like that old mantra, “the best camera is the one you have with you,” so to be able to put together a gallery of these photos was something cool and special. Something unique. To have them in this format is a kind of celebration of what we’re already experiencing but in an interactive way.

LAC: How do you think the Ōlloclip revolutionizes the art of photography?

CB: The set up is just so dialed in for functionality. I’m such a stickler, there will be times where I want to get ‘this moment’ but my iPhone isn’t doing it. Now I have this variety of what I can do. Just a couple days ago I did this project and the only thing I went to shoot with was my iPhone because I have the versatility now. I used to feel limited with my iPhone, I’d need a camera and a few lenses but now I have wide perspectives and telephoto and all these different ways to engage and view and see what I’m doing. It’s a new way of exploring.

LAC: Tell us about your book “Distant Shores.”

CB: I’ve been traveling for the last ten years, exploring distant, cold, unique places to surf. With this book we really wanted no bs, straight photos, no stories. The photos told the stories themselves and in a way it’s kind of like surf porn. That concept and that idea of doing something large format, we loved. You open the book and you really have something heavy, you can appreciate. My goal as a photographer is to catapult the viewer into that moment. The idea behind the book is so that you feel like you’re there and pays respects to the places I’ve invested a lot of my life to.

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LAC: So you’ve been all over the world in some of the most remote places. What’s the wildest, most intense experience you had? Where were you?

CB: I went to Russia in 2009 and I never made it past customs because my visa had the wrong entry date. It was stamped incorrectly so they basically threw me in a jail cell and I had to stay there for 24 hours with a guard at the door. I got deported to Korea and then I flew back a day later when my entry date was correct. It was pretty brutal, they didn’t feed me and I was super green, super young. I was cutting my teeth on traveling and learning. To have all of your rights stripped away from you and not speak the language, it was really eye opening.

LAC: What can we expect next from Chris Burkard? What else are you working on?

CB: I’m actually working on a children’s book. This Disney artist is drawing my photographs and I wrote this story about kids going out and experiencing the world, seeing it from a fresh perspective. It’s aspirational. Always traveling, I have some trips planned to Iceland and some other remote island chains. Other than that continuing to tour the forum we’ve made and I’m staying busy. I have two little ones at home so life is full-on.

This interview was originally featured on LACanvas.com