Chris Burkard, TransWorld Surf‘s recent photo intern, was the lucky recipient of the first annual Follow the Light Foundation $5,000 grant bestowed in the name of iconic surf photographer Larry “Flame Moore, who departed last year following a three-year battle with brain cancer.
Central California’s Burkard, 20, was one of several noted finalists for the grant. His winning images were judged in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., on October 10 by surf photography heavyweights including Aaron Chang, Jeff Divine, Art Brewer, and Steve Wilkings.
“I’m just so stoked, Burkard said. “It means a lot to receive this award in the spirit of Flame, and I feel very lucky to have this to be able to help my photography to progress.
With the grant money, Burkard intends to launch into a book documentary project about the California coast, an idea he hatched with his friend Eric Soderquist.
Burkard entered the contest at the urging of TransWorld SurfPhoto Editor Pete Taras.
Follow the Light (www.followthelightfoundation.org) is a non-profit group created by Moore’s wife, Candy, Chang, and Surfing magazine publisher Ross Garrett.
“Through his work at Surfing magazine, Larry literally gave three decades of surfing their ‘look,’ says the Foundation’s Web site. “Today, honoring Larry’s request, we have established the Follow the Light Foundation (FTL), an organization that will help finance the dreams of surf photographers, pushing the sport and its lensmen forward.
Burkard began shooting surf photos about a year ago. His first official “surf photo session was with Central Coast legend Van Curaza at Avila Beach.
As a grom in Arroyo Grande, Burkard realized he was an artist, but wasn’t sure which he wanted to pursue the most.
“In high school I tried every different kind of art, like painting and sculpture, he said. “I was looking for a medium that I would really be able to express myself in the right way. I fell upon photography though just wanting to shoot my friends, and it sort of stuck. That was when I started seeing photography as more than just a hobby.
From June through September, under the auspices of Taras, Burkard served in the TransWorld Surf trenches, learning the tricks of the trade, and, having no “home in SoCal, found himself driving back and forth weekly between Arroyo Grande and Oceanside, five hours each way, sleeping in rest stops, parking lots, eating fast food, and changing the oil in his truck four times.
“Pete really taught me a lot, like how to shoot artistically for publication, Burkard said. “I learned a lot from being around all the editors, but I’ve always been influenced and inspired by Flame. Thanks, Flame—we miss you.
Check out Burkard’s Web site: www.burkardphoto.com