Skip to main content

Chris Bukard

Lesson 7 from: The Photographer's Guide to Resiliency

Alex Strohl

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

7. Chris Bukard

Alex interviews Chris Burkard, a proud Californian, and occasional Photographer

Lesson Info

Chris Bukard

(phone ringtone) Nice, we're live dude. Thank you so much for joining this workshop. Yeah, I'm glad we're doing this together. I think a lot of people are gonna love hearing what you have to think about, and it's something we haven't done, like you and I on a call, talking about some of the big problems that we're gonna be facing. So just to jump in, and you probably have heard this question before, I think we've both answered it on the Darkroom podcast. But it's, how have you been staying creative and inspired through this past, pretty much eight weeks. Because a lot of your stuff, I'll just preface this by saying that a lot of the work you do is to my understanding going places, right? And doing pretty cool stuff. Yeah, it's weird, because, as much as I wish I could be working from home or working in my own town, I've set up myself, maybe in a bad way, that it's really hard for me to actually get work that's in my own town. So, so much of what I do requires me to basically be her...

e. Sorry, be on location. Alaska. Yeah, Alaska. And that, it's a blessing and a curse. And so I guess when it comes to the question of being inspired, you know, what do you do? You know there's... For me a big part of it is investing time into planning and fool-proofing for future projects. Like right now I'm in the middle of a pitch for a project with Sony for the summer. I'm pitching something, some personal projects that I want to turn into commercial projects. I'm (indistinct) decks. I am spending a lot of time helping my wife with the kids at home. I'm doing construction at my office, that's happening right now in the background. And I'm really trying to think about like, okay, I to be honest, I'm a workaholic. It's a self profess, like it's not a great attribute. And so having the opportunity to have no work and be able to really reflect upon like, "Okay, which jobs do I wanna do?" That's so important, like that's such a great thing. So I'm taking the time to kind of like, think through what I wanna invest my time into, where is my time best given so that when this does turn around and life goes back to normal in some capacity, I feel like I'm more focused than ever. And it might even be a good opportunity to turn down some work that I didn't really wanna do, because you know, because I'm a yes-man, and I just say yes to everything, that can be really dangerous, right? I know you've spoken a lot about that. So that's kind of how I'm staying inspired. It's also given me the opportunity to like tell stories and look at some images and some work that I've done years ago that I didn't fully mentally unpack or digest. So I'm taking time to like, you know, go through some of those photographs that are my favorites, or stories and really like break them down, so yeah. I've seen a few throwbacks on IG, yeah. A lot of surfing the old days are back. Oh yeah, lots. I mean, it's endless you know, in some capacity. It is really when we come back that the trip, I think, comes to life. Like after a few months, almost like a good... Like any writing, I feel like you gotta let it sit because.. I mean just like we have to do sometimes, you're on the trip and you have to start using photos right away, you don't have time to reflect. So you just bang, bang, bang, favoriting a couple photos, send them, and then you go back a year after and you're like, "Oh shit, there's like this gem, and this gem, I never even saw it." And sometimes they never go noticed, and it's pretty sad. So yeah, this is a good time to do that, I agree. I've been working on that too. Interesting though that... And we're gonna talk about pitching a bit later, but I'm curious on, just to bounce on what you said, that historically you've taken a large variety of the jobs that came your way, is that right? Yeah. I would just say that, you know, I've said this before in interviews, but like I grew up in a really blue collar family, my dad- Yeah. My dad basically paid our mortgage, like mowing lawns, and just working in the hot sun all day. I always grew up realizing like, any job was a blessing and you never turn that down. When that's ingrained in you from a young age, it's hard to know anything else. It's hard to operate in any other way. So for me, a big part of my career has been saying yes, yes, yes, yes, to everything. Yes to every podcast, right? So even- And it's blessed... It's been a benefit, but also, it can be a real detriment because at times, you wanna make yourself available but if you're too available, the value and the worth goes down, right? And ultimately you can only do so many projects really well. And so that's been a good inflection point for me over the last couple years is to learn when to say no and when to respectfully decline. And sometimes that even means environmental initiatives, like the world, or people, followers, whatever you wanna call it, they want you to care about everything. The Amazon's burning, Australia's burning, this is happening, that's happening, the world's on... It's like, I feel so bad, but you can only do so many things well, you can only advocate for so many things well. So, I've really tried to throw myself into one thing to really do at a time, and right now it's been protecting Iceland's glacial rivers with my new book. Yes, exciting book. Working on this film, UNNUR, that's a really important story. So I've just been trying to focus on the couple things I can do well, and give them like, the greatest life. And you know what's so funny is like, and this is, you know, we're we're professionals and we're talking here as like... This is a time when most people are like, "I don't wanna spend money, I don't wanna spend money." But I, for once in my life I was like, "I'm gonna pay a PR company to promote my book." 'Cause I've kind of extended my reach of like friends, I sent copies to people, I sent them out to all my contacts. But I reached out to a really talented PR company to help promote it. And that, although it was a huge initial investment, like thousands of dollars, it's paid off so well, right? So you're advising that? Yeah. I mean, the reality is you have to spend money to make money. And if you have projects that are literally just sitting there collecting dust, right? You can breathe new life into them by thinking about different ways, and different angles to promote them. And that was a big process for me is like, okay, I've made seven books, right? And I've invested a lot of energy into creating prints and creating a website that sells them. Literally the only way that I've been able to be net positive during this time is by creating income that can be resilient, right? Like you're saying, or in some way carry me through these times that are challenging. And so, although my business has different revenue streams, like commercial photography and whatnot, and it kind of goes down- We'll get into that. Yeah. Being able to like have these tiers of income that are working for me now, because I've invested time into them and money initially, that's been really helpful and kind of mind blowing. I guess just a message that I wanna send to creatives, and entrepreneurs, and people out there is like, you need to recession-proof your business. It's something that I've talked about in workshops a lot, and being in this time, I feel like it's never been more important to think that way. A hundred percent. And I think it's beautiful what you're doing with the old projects, bringing life to them. Switching gears to the skills, have you been developing new skills at all? Developing new skills? Yeah. Growing out my hair, that's been a new skill. (both laughing) Working on my tan, no... Looking good. I think to be honest, over the last couple years I've been working on... This is gonna sound crazy, but like, I'm a photographer kind of, sort of, and I haven't picked up a camera in over a month, right? But that's okay because I don't feel like the camera needs to define me. Over the last couple years I've been really trying to dive deep into what it means to tell stories and how you could do that. You can use your voice, you can use your words, typing them out in a book, photography. For me a big part of that... I know for you, it's like, you have to live those experiences first. And I always love seeing you getting after it, doing some like, kayak mission, or bike trip. Because that's where stories are born. What's the most valuable thing? Is it spending time working on your craft of photography, or is it spending time working on your craft of creating and curating good stories? So right now, I'm just in the mode of like, I wanna, I want to make sure that all that time I've invested in taking great pictures, is gonna pay off in telling good stories. 'Cause that's what people connect with. And ultimately whether that's making books, or films, or whatever. You'll notice, I've put out some Instagram TV, I read my children's book to give something back to the parents at home. I've been working on a couple more Instagram lives. For me, I want to use this time as developing the skills of teaching and giving back, by educating the newer generation, I think that's what this is a part of and that's what you've done really well through your workshop platform. Because I don't need to go out and take pictures to refine that craft. This is the craft that I wanna define, this is the skillset that I want. Teaching, yeah. I'll improve on is like, how can I articulate the need or the importance of what I care about and what I'd do better, right? Love it. So talking on brands now, how do you think photographers can bring solutions to them? Yeah. For now, the next month, and the next year. Do you have any thoughts on that? It's all gonna be changing so rapidly, right? Budgets and things like that are gonna be evolving, and nobody knows where brands are gonna be in a year, six months. A part of me feels like it's important to move forward as if nothing has changed, right? It's almost like we need to, more than ever, make sure that our pitches and our project descriptions are bulletproof, so that when a brand gets your pitch deck or your PDF, and you want go to Israel on some rad further excursion, that it makes sense. And I think that for me it's like, what are... (construction noises) Sorry, there's some construction going on. See the drilling. I'm so sorry. It's all good dude. I think it's always like... I try to put the ball in their court, like what do they wanna walk away with, right? Part of that is understanding what you, as a photographer, speaker, story teller, what you can offer. Like, have you built out your brand deck to be super bulletproof and dialed so that they can understand what they can walk away with, à la carte, or as a project in a whole. And then, putting that together in a pitch deck that says what you want, where you're going, why, what's the story, et cetera, et cetera. And asking for what you need, whether that's product or money or support or whatever, or views. And then what you're planning to offer them in terms of whether that's... The biggest. Or video, or images, or your likeness, or your name, or your advertisement on said product. So I think just like... Obviously there's Adobe Spark, that's a great, kind of beginner place to start out with, and then you can move on to like InDesign. You can hire somebody to make you a rad pitch deck. I think even though there's brands that I have great relationships with, like Sony or like (indistinct), whomever has worked with me on projects. I still wanna come to the table with a good pitch deck that lays out those expectations because that's the way that creatives communicate, and that's the way that they... We communicate with them our needs, and our desires, right? And they appreciate that. Even though you could text maybe the marketing director at a company. Yeah, directly. Yeah, yeah. That's not the greatest way to do that. So I think putting time into those, and ultimately realizing this is a great time to work those budgets down refine those budgets, like refine those costs, you know, maybe there's a cheaper way to get somewhere and it makes that trip happen. But I think that there's gonna be a resurgence after this, people are gonna wanna get outside, outdoor companies- Yeah, (indistinct) yeah. Camping something, yeah. Yeah, a lot of outdoor brands, which you and I work with, there was no trade shows, there was no OR, so getting their message out there is gonna be more important than ever. And there has been a lot of companies affected, but a lot of budgets have also been preserved 'cause they haven't... They're still there. Yeah. They're still there, they've had to cut advertising in certain spaces and places. So what a better time for somebody to come in with a genius idea that could come out and help push a product or a campaign into 2021 for them. Very specific, I love it. Do you think of sectors at all? Do you think there's gonna be any specific sectors that are gonna be needing us more than others? Tourism and travel I think is gonna be (indistinct). I had a great call the other day with a tourism bureau, they're calling it the recovery campaign, because it's really what it is. Like millions and millions and millions of dollars are being lost in the tourism business, in places like Iceland, or places like British Columbia, or whatever. And they're gonna need recovery campaigns to get the word back out there, it's safe to travel, there's precautions against this, this is a place that's worth exploring, et cetera et cetera. Now I don't know how budgets are gonna be affected, but I would venture to say that along with that, there's gonna be a lot of small businesses, like independent operators, that are gonna need to be supported and advocated for, that I think that us, as creatives, can help them. You know, it's hard, I think that overall, people are gonna be a little more tight with how they spend money. But it's also going to allow those that are putting more time and more thought and more energy into their brand message and what they can bring to the table, that's where the budget's gonna go. So people who are kind of like sitting on their hands, and just being like, "Oh, I'm just gonna wait for all this to over." Honestly, I don't feel bad for them because this is a great opportunity to refine what you hope to do and really come out strong, you know? So you're advocating a more refined approach because you think that whoever has the nicest approach, the nicest pitch, the nicest idea, and the best way it's presented can win in the long term versus the usual, what used to be okay a few months ago, is no longer okay. So you're saying the level for you is going up in terms of in the ways you pitch stuff. Right, and I think that also too, those who put in the time, are gonna reap the benefits. I think that there's kind of been like, in many ways, there maybe was a golden era, in social influence, where people would just be like, "I'm doing this trip, then this trip, then this trip." Going all over. And like, "I don't care how much I'm making or whatever." And now all of a sudden they're like, "Wow, my bank account is draining." And they've put in no effort to recession proof or protect their business, and that's an absolute shame. I've lived through a recession, I've been doing this for 14 years. So back in 2008, I watched everything just diminish, I was scraping pennies, that was the point that I realized the importance of trying to build a business that was able to be protected, and able to rely upon something other than a US clientele, and/or like commercial opportunities, meaning like brands that wanna hire me or something like that. I think that's just my mindset. So what other revenue streams have you learned to develop from the '08 kerfuffle, and now what revenue streams are you developing? Yeah, so my revenue, for me, breaks down into like six categories, commercial photography and image licensing being the top. And then editorial, like magazine work. That's the revenue that I have to work for- Yeah, traditional photography revenue. Yeah, I show my book at agencies, I do whatever, I have my agent. And that stuff's great, and it pays the bills, right? That's what pays the most. And then there's these other types of revenue. I would put books, prints, films, that's all one category. That's stuff that I make personally. Then there's workshops and teaching. Now, workshops can't really exist right now, but teaching can, and if you have the ability to teach or you're a respected teacher, you could be doing zoom calls with people or portfolio reviews. Yeah. Sessions, yeah. You know, for me, I was doing a lot of... I had like seven speaking assignments get canceled. Speaking at the Olympics, speaking at a Boston climate change conference, et cetera, et cetera. So that is off the table. And then the very last thing on my revenue stream, being the very lowest, is probably social influence or work where I'm advocating for a product or something like that. That's the lowest? Right, yeah. I come from a traditional photography background where shooting for tech or automotive or whatever, that's really where we make our income from. And although I could probably flip flop it, I don't feel as comfortable within that space advocating for brands, unless it's somebody that I really trust and I've worked on. My methodology is like, if I'm gonna be promoting a brand, I want to create something with them to share, right? Oh yeah, a hundred percent yeah. And you do that too, it's great. But I find that that category of books and prints and films, here's the thing about it, is like... That's fulfilling. It is, but what's crazy about it is that you never create those things during these times, you don't go out and be like, "Well it's a recession, I'm gonna spend a lot of money and go make a book." You have to have the forethought to do that when the time is good, or there's time of plenty, right? Like you're doing well. But it's really hard to take time away and be like, "Man, I'm traveling all over the world, I've got a paycheck, or I'm doing this huge job. I'm gonna take a moment and I'm gonna make this film and invest in it, or this tour and spend the money because I know that maybe, down the road, this is something I'm gonna wanna sell to keep me going." My career's been a rollercoaster, right? I've been through dips and valleys, and I've seen highs and lows, and I've realized the importance of taking mental stock and taking a step backwards, to try and evaluate what I need to do to protect myself during these times. So speaking of lows, do you think photographers should look at lowering their rates right now? You know, it's a very tactical question, but I think it deserves some airtime. Absolutely, I think that that's a question that everybody should consider, to be honest. Just because. Just, just... Maybe because the conditions. Yeah, here's the situation is like, I never want to get into a situation where I'm lowering my rates because it's gonna allow me to get the job over somebody else, that fosters a environment where you're undercutting people- Yeah, just bottom feeding. Yeah, it's that that brand is now going to always operate at that scale, right? So to me, the Fortune 500 companies that typically I'm operating with, they aren't gonna be that affected, right? But, I think for a lot of people they're in this category where you're working with smaller brands, they have a couple stores or whatever, and they're trying to do an ad campaign, or a catalog, or whatever. And yeah like, this might be highly affecting them and I would say that, considering what you can do to support them is great. Now, one of the things you have to look at is that, when you lower your rates, it's a scale, right? So if you lower your rates, what you offer them has to also potentially be lower. Yeah, yeah. There's just no discounts, you're gonna take stuff away. Yeah, it's not a discount, it's like, "I'm lowering my rates, but I'm also giving you maybe instead of a six, a two year license, a six month license of usage. Or potentially instead of 20 images, it's 10 images. So, you're advising- Yeah, I might consider it. But you're advising still, even through coronavirus times, to lower your rates but still be taking stuff out, there's just no discounts. I think it's a matter of, if you feel like that brand is hesitant to get involved with you because of your rates or where their budgets are at, or how it's affected them. I mean, some businesses have been thriving through this, for a toilet paper company, you should probably charge (indistinct). But if it's a client that you've worked with for years and you know they're hurting and their stores have been closed, continue that relationship, I would say that's... This is something that everybody should evaluate on their own, to make sure that you're in it for the long game, but you're not like trying to take on a new client and undercut somebody, because what that does, it lowers the standard for the whole industry. A hundred percent, I agree. So with travel being a bit uncertain in the horizon, to be fair. Have you thought about building some sort of photo studio? I don't know if you have one or not, but I don't see you shooting in the studio. Have you thought about building one? I don't shoot in a studio at all. And to be honest, I wouldn't know the first thing about it. We would have to buy like a backdrop and the lighting. We have a very small studio for tiny products for our own store, but I feel like I would have to reeducate myself and I just know my strengths, and one of the things that I've been thinking about is obviously, I want to do a new online workshop. I'd rather put my time and money into doing that, and putting that out there, that's more specific and focused, so people can learn those same skills that I've learned over years of investing and whatnot, in time. Again, creating new online galleries, trying to push books, trying to push films, trying to basically touch base with old clients, and see about projects that maybe fell to the wayside or what was happening, and see if we can still revive that for them as well, there's there's opportunity there. That's beautiful. And I think we've talked a lot about the brands, but I get the sense that, a lot of the smaller direct to consumer brands, like the new wave, you know, like Peak Design, for example, right? Versus Manfrotto. So I think those new direct to consumer brands are gonna be keeping a lot of creatives afloat, because I feel like they have not as much overhead, versus the big guys who have like massive brick and mortar stores, big offices, and they're not as fast to adapt. Like Peak Design would adapt to work from home, they're probably already doing that half the time. But the Manfrotto team in Italy, Milan or wherever they are, I don't think they're doing that. So they've been forced to do it, and from my communications, I don't know if you have the same feel, but I've been hearing from the bigger brands like, "We don't really know where we are right now, it's all on pause." But the newer guys, I feel like they're moving a little faster and they're like yeah, they're already planning what's gonna happen in the fall. Have you felt that? I absolutely have. I think there's a nimbleness to smaller brands that allows them to shift and work remotely. Keep in mind, some of these younger brands have younger marketing teams and those people wanna be out on weekends, and they wanna be living in their van. So this isn't something new to them. I think brands that are owned by a conglomerate, and a bigger group, and a bigger group, and a bigger group, for them to make a subtle change, has to go through a huge chain of command that's a total pain in the ass. So I do think that there's value in- I think so too, yeah. Yeah, for sure. And maybe just seeing that... The reality is product launches still have to happen. Brands are still gonna come out with new stuff, it's not like- Like DCI yesterday. Yeah, they're not gonna push pause on those things. So budgets are still gonna have to be pushed through, and I think it's a great time to really consider what you could offer for a brand. One thing that I always suggest people is, when I'm in a workshop, like the first thing I do is I'm like, take a list, and put all the brands you wanna work with on this side and you on the other side, and draw a line to the brands that you really feel- That's beautiful. Like you wanna work with, and think about this, how much are they gonna have to stretch themselves to work with you, versus you work with them? And if you have to stretch yourself really far, like if your style is nothing like Levi's, but you wanna work with them, maybe that's not the best fit for you. And I think it's a good time to do a little brand research and understand what they represent, what their style of work is, yada yada, yada. Do some case studies for yourself, and pick a couple brands to try and make contact with, if you came out of quarantine with like 10 new contacts, or conversations started with smaller brands, like a Cotopaxi, or a Peak Design, or whatever, like that would be great, that would be awesome. Because chances are maybe three or four of those could manifest into some work. You mentioned the ratio. 'Cause people don't know that ratio, right? It's like 10:3, right? For every 10 emails you send, you'll get three responses, if you're lucky four, you know? That's it coming from the king. These guys have to hear it. Well, you gotta get good at rejection to do this job, you know? A hundred percent, oh yeah. Yeah, people get their hopes crushed, they're like, "Oh, I haven't heard back, is it me?" It's like, "No, it's fine. It's just, not everything can convert, right? Just like a newsletter can't be opened by everybody." Yeah, I think timing is so important. If you know a brand is promoting a campaign or something new, like hey, probably realistically, they don't have time to talk to you right now. Like they are busy, all hands on deck releasing something, going to a trade show might be a good time because you're gonna have all the right people there. So I think a big part of it is timing, that's played a huge role in my connection with brands and being able to work with them. So now moving to more community stuff, how do you think photographers, first, should they or should they not? Then second, if they should, how should they collaborate in these times? Great question. You know, I grew up in this field of surf photography where it was cutthroat, you know, nobody gave you any- That's my peer. Any of their tips, it was crazy. And all I wanted when I was starting out was, an email with just a little bit of info, or whatever. And there was a couple really gentle souls that were helpful and were kind to me, and I always told myself, I'm like, "I wanna be one of those people that helps others." Because I knew how hard this industry is. And I feel like, it was through the experience of my first book, The California Surf Project, that I really realized, collaboration is everything. Working with a good designer, working with a good team to push these projects through. I'm not always saying you need be working with another photographer, but like a designer, an artist, a illustrator, what have you. I think that the creative industry benefits from really collaboration, that's the only way to get great projects done. And I would say personally that it's my relationship with folks like yourself and a slew of other photographers that has allowed me to feel connected to this industry in some way. Yeah, it's alive. And I think that, to be honest, it's weird, most people I interact with on a daily basis, most people I'm inspired by, most people I follow are people I've met online. Like all of the people that work for me, everything. So to say there's not like real power and connectivity in social media- Oh yeah. Oh yeah. I think we agree, yeah. I think that in reality, teaming up with people, finding ways to... two voices are stronger than one, really putting that into play. I mean, multiple photographers sharing a project like a film or a book or whatever. What a joy, you know, being able to be a part of that stuff is awesome. And what I find is that if you're open and you're willing and you don't have the divisiveness that always usually comes with like trying to promote yourself then I think that you can really benefit from that person's audience, and you theirs. A hundred percent, and I think you've been one of the best examples that I've come through, you and probably Mo, Michael O'Neal, his generosity. Yeah, oh yeah. He showed me a lot of stuff, he taught me a lot. Yeah, you've been such a big, just generous figure. I remember when I launched my first book, you were really into talking about it and I was like, wow, you know, it was 2015, it was like four or five years ago, and it was like, this is really good, right? You know, we should be doing more way more of this, right? I agree with you. Yeah, I've learned a lot from that. And I think there's something to be said, I think that my voice becomes more valid, if I'm just constantly talking about my books, my books, my films, like that's just my stuff. Do people care about my opinion on books and films, if all I have is share is the positivity of mine? I would rather be a respected voice in- Curation, yeah. In curation, in films in general. 'Cause I read a lot of books and I love a lot of books. And hey, if there's 10 books that I am in love with, none of them are gonna be mine, you know? That's the goal here is like, I aim to really advocate for photographers out there, putting themselves out there, creating something vulnerable, even if it's an advertising campaign and I don't work for the brand, like I've found really cool stuff that's been done by people that I wanna promote, simply because that person told an honest story or I know they spent the money to make this book and like what a journey that is, it's hard, yeah. I think a book is like, number one in terms of fun things to do, I think book and then art show second. But I think the book to me is just such a very personal experience, intimate. Then films probably become number three. It's a whole ball game for films. It really is. And honestly, I get to know that person by looking at their book and how they curated it and what they wrote, more than any social media, it's like Instagram times a hundred, right? You really get a personal look, and I really value that. You get to know somebody. Now just, we're kinda running out of time so, I just wanna bounce back on what you said on recession proofing, you've said that multiple times. So what does that mean to you? That's a great question. Recession proofing doesn't only mean your income, it means your mind, right? So two things, mental health, physical health and business health, right? So, having a plan, right? What is your plan if your five contacts of work that you constantly get work from dry up, right? There's a freelance world right now that's really being affected. For many years I wasn't freelance, I was on staff, I had a consistent income from the magazine or from brands when I worked for Patagonia and whatnot. And that added a safety net. But now there's no safety net, like tomorrow I could make $0 and spend $500 right, on payroll. So what am I doing? Or what have I spent my time on when times were good to create revenue? And again, to reiterate that's- You look at the high times. Yeah, you have to do it during the high times 'cause that gives you the perspective. Nobody's like, "I'm gonna make this million dollar idea when my bank account's draining, and I'm in fight or flight mode, and I'm scared." Because you're not making decisions in the most intelligent way when you're like- For sure, you're reacting. When you're threatened, when you're a cornered animal, right? So that being said, for me that's, and this can be different for everybody, for me that's been education tools, online workshops, books, films, I make small revenue amounts from those, and selling prints. And those are things that I advocate for, I also advocate for others to do them, I advocate for people supporting artists, And I'm grateful for that. And I think that's the business health. The mental is really the preparation of like, if you're just constantly traveling, and you're never fully digesting those experiences, all you're doing is taking a different drug that tastes great. I mean, there's an amazing dopamine hit that comes from constantly going to somewhere new. And this might sound kind of weird, but like, if it's uncomfortable for you... If it's more comfortable for you to get off a plane in a new country where you can't speak the language, than it is to call your mom, then maybe there's a problem there. Because there's issues that you haven't dealt with that you're gonna be dealing with when you're stuck at home in quarantine. You're running away from something. You're running away. And I'm not a therapist for people, but I just wanna say that like, that's an issue I've dealt with, I'm still dealing with, and I'm just addressing the need to deal with that before you're stuck here. Find your center, your core, whether that's through, I don't know, meditation, yoga, you know, exercise, whatever, that's great. For me, physical health is a big part of that, like spending time to be outside, spending time to breathe fresh air, spending time in the sun. So that that's something that's a huge priority. And that doesn't mean I need to like go to a huge adventure. I'm an advocate for finding adventures in your own backyard, and I do that a lot, I do that as much as I can. It's gonna be a lot of that this summer. Yeah. Yeah, backyard adventuring. Cool. So, just to wrap it up, what's gonna be your biggest takeaway you think from all this? Oh man, my biggest takeaway, is gonna be trying to learn from those who were resilient and those who weren't. And I know that sounds weird, maybe kind of pretentious, but there's something that's been said like, a smart man learns from his mistakes, a wise man, or woman, learns from other's mistakes. And I think when you look at the brands, the businesses, the photographers, the creatives, the whatever, who threw in the towel, there's something to be learned there, and I wanna learn from those people's mistakes because, there was decisions made way back when, that got them to that stage. You know, whether it's a business who had too much overhead and got too big, and didn't run lean enough or whatever, I'm looking to learn, because I'm in a very volatile situation. I'm right on that tipping point, you know? Things are not like peachy keen, they're right there. So I'm trying to learn as much as I can as a business owner, a father, a photographer, a creative person, on how to balance all these things. And that's really what I'm hoping to do. And so I'm spending my time, trying to understand, talking to people, you know? And trying to understand or learn from maybe the things that they... Like if somebody was to be like, "Give me the pinpoint decision, where did things go wrong?" And if they can do that, that'll be great. And I know that this will be studied for years to come. It'll change the way we do business in America, and in the world, to be honest. Oh yeah, and we can study what happened in 2008 to finances right now. Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I agree. Yeah, it's gonna be a few years before we can look back and talk about this whole thing in the past tense. For now we're plugging away. This was, I think gonna be really valuable for all these people, and they're gonna get a lot out of this. Yeah dude, thanks for being an open book, as usual. Yeah, thanks for all the help throughout the years, and I know that people are gonna be pumped to hear this. Yeah, I'm stoked. I'm always grateful to collaborate with you, I think that being able to work with you early on, and catch your vision because I think that- Yeah, what was that, 2015. Yeah. I was editing photos of that trip actually, for my blog, and I was like, "Ah, Chris Burkard stopped by." I did a whole collage of everybody who stopped by for the blog. I love that. How old was that? Yeah. I mean, it's funny 'cause I just remember you were the first person that I remember seeing photos of, seeing their images, and you had been somewhere that I had been before, and I was like, "Wow, this person saw something so different than what I saw. They saw, you know, tiny cabins and villages and people, and life kind of happening slowly. And I was looking for these big, wide-" Big waves. You know, I was looking for these like, monumental sunsets and this and that. And you had this slow, calculated approach that was thoughtful. It actually made me wanna shoot more like you, and I would definitely say that they're subject people, they're subject matter that I've sought out that was inspired by you. And I think that's like a beautiful thing. I tell photographers all the time, I'm like, "Don't be afraid to imitate. It's a part of the creative process. Like your voice, your creative vision is based upon imitation and imitation. And then you suck, and you suck some more, and then maybe you figure it out a little bit, and then you finally figure it out. It's through the process of doing that, that we find out who we are." And I appreciate that. Oh man, thank you. For the record, when I was in my first year of design school, 2009 perhaps. I was looking to make a website, and I stumbled on your website. So you're already fully going as a photographer in those days, and I was just like in a design school, I don't even know what I wanted to do. I was like, "Dude, this guy, he's got it figured out. I wanna be like him." So it's like we've gone 360. But you know, sure, we're not talking about all the stuff in the middle, like all the sucky parts, but, at least knowing where you wanna go at the beginning is very powerful. If you know where you wanna be in a few years, if you have a vision or you have a few models you wanna go after, proof is that you can do it. I a hundred percent agree. And if there's that one lasting piece of advice, like you touched on it, like you or I, people who, maybe the world thinks that we've like made it, or whatever. I'm sure we get asked for advice a lot, and one of the things that we can't do, and I'm just speaking for you here is like, we can't offer advice to somebody, if they don't know their destination, or they don't know where they might wanna end up. It's impossible to give somebody a roadmap to a place that doesn't exist. And so I think that spending the time to at least partially know where you want to go, or like, or a stop along the way. A big dream, you know? Just a dream I think. And this quarantine is a really good time to do your dream setting, right? Like to know where you want go. Yep, a hundred percent. Start your plans. Cool, man. Thank you buddy. Yeah. Thanks Chris. Good luck with the construction. And lemme pause this one before we go over like, memory card number 14. Yeah. All right, good. Alright man, well, yeah, we'll be in touch when this thing drops, we wanna make it happen soon. Yeah, I'll send you my recording.

Ratings and Reviews

Anabella Borges

Perfect Timing They say things come at the right time and this workshop definitely did. Being a photographer is the greatest gift I could thank for, showing though my eye how I see existence is a blessing; but being successful from it is very tough! It has been a ride for me, and this workshop clarified so many things. The tools that are being shared are worth it all. Listening to these interviews made me feel not alone, hearing them speak about reinventing ourselves and trusting our creativity was inspirational. Specially the similarity of all about not giving up and staying authentic. Thank you Alex, you created a master piece of knowledge. Anabella.


What a wonderful resource! I really wanted to give Alex a HUGE thank you! This has been such a great resource as an aspiring Photographer. I feel way more confident and knowledgable about reaching out to clients. I still have some of my own homework to do but I feel like I am well equipped to tackle these challenges and to keep moving forward. Such a generous and honest resource. Can't thank you enough! And thanks to all who interviewed and shared their experiences.

Niklaus Morin

Timely Generosity Many thanks to Alex and friends who made this workshop happen! Very helpful, timely insights and reminders that building respectful relationships, trust, and community are values upon which to build personal, professional and cultural fulfillment and success. The conversational details within the interviews are fantastic. And the common threads throughout make me hopeful. Thanks again to all!

Student Work