We had the good fortune of connecting with Bobby Burch and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bobby, what are you inspired by?
Nature is my main source of inspiration.
I’m a curious person and nature’s mysteries fill me with wonder. Wild places push me to reconnect with myself, remind me how small I am, and put into perspective the trivialities of my day-to-day. Nature is humbling and enlivening.
That connection to nature — and how it’s helped me through life — is what inspires my photography. So often, we aren’t willing to be still with ourselves. We’re constantly caught in our thoughts and in “go mode,” seeking to accomplish the next task or eking out the day. But when you’re on a multi-day backpacking trip, you’re forced to be alone with your thoughts, shift your focus to the present, and be aware of your immediate surroundings.
When I started The Wild Lens 4 years ago, I wrote a credo: “Immersion in nature heals, restores, and inspires.” After each backpacking trip, I’d feel renewed and full of creative energy. I thought “I wish everyone could experience this.” Little did I know that what I was experiencing was what neuroscientists refer to as “the 3-day effect,” a psychological phenomenon that boosts creative thinking and enhances problem-solving. The basic idea is when we’re in nature for more than 72 hours and without screens, we give the frontal cortex — our executive taskmaster — a break by shifting our awareness to what’s around us. My photography aims to inspire people to seek that peace out for themselves.
Discovering a new wilderness area is like reading a good book. Each page offers a new perspective, a mystery to unfold, and I don’t want to stop the journey. And just like my favorite novels, nature inspires me to continue learning and to keep asking questions.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a wildlife and nature photographer focusing on National Parks and public land conservation.
I take my big, bulky camera rigs on multi-day backpacking treks where other photographers are keen to save weight. It’s an added 15-20 pounds in my pack but to me, it’s worth the extra sweat and soreness. One of my favorite parts of this approach is the sunrise opportunities it provides. WIldlife is extra active in the early morning and sunrise light is simply the best.
I’m a journalist by training and honed my photography skills at a small, daily newspaper. Small town newspapers are fantastic training grounds to cultivate a range of skills, and photography was something I enjoyed and excelled at. Fortunately, I was supported by my team to invest in these skills and, before long, the photography bug bit me and I started learning as much as I could.
While to most people my brand is simply “pretty pictures,” I often think of The Wild Lens as a quasi-documentary organization. With the rate at which our climate is changing, I fear my children’s children may not experience the majesty of the elk rut, the gracefulness of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, the enormity of glaciers, or the solitude of the Rosevelt National Forest. I hope it never comes to that, but if it does, I want to show them photos as evidence.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We’d start by driving southwest to the San Juans and fish and backpack the Weminuche Wilderness for a few days. Next, we’d drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park for some moose and elk photography before grabbing some cocktails at The Stanley. Finally, we’d work our way further north for a bluegrass show at the Mishawaka Amphitheater, complete with some of their delicious wings.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First and foremost, my partner Hannah. She’s helped me prep and work at countless markets and art fairs, offered tons of creative ideas, and her compassionate listening has helped me navigate the difficult aspects of being a photographer. As you might imagine, Colorado is full of talented photographers and it’s hard not to compare yourself or focus on your perceived shortcomings. Hannah’s helped me with the imposter syndrome that many artists face with their craft.
Also, my parents. From an early age, my parents always supported my creativity, be it in music, pottery, writing, or photography. Music and art were a big part of my childhood — though I often denied it in favor of sports. Without my parents, I wouldn’t have such a thirst for art and beauty.