We had the good fortune of connecting with Kristen Burdick and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kristen, why did you pursue a creative career?
After growing up around a parent who would constantly bring their camera to almost every family function, I followed in the footsteps of experimenting with picture taking.
As a sophomore in high school and with curiosity in mind, I decided to take my first photography class. I challenged myself to all different types of photography; however, no type of photography came close to giving me the feeling that portraits did. Two years later, I decided to take an AP Photography class my senior year. I continued to explore my interest in portraiture and took on different photography assignments with that in mind. During my time in high school, I discovered the concept of including fashion into portraiture. After I was introduced to the idea of this, I felt I couldn’t ever go back to normal types of portraiture.
I think a big part of me choosing a creative career was the constant support from my parents. My dad was a part of the IT world for most of his life. He always had a love for cooking and decided to pursue this passion later in life. He completely shifted career paths, knew the risks, went to culinary school, and opened a restaurant. He had an idea and a love for something, and nothing got in his way. My parents created this atmosphere where they wanted me to pursue something that I have love for and supported me every step of the way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Fashion is the “cultural construction of the embodied identity.” It also describes the way things are made, to fashion something is to give it a particular form, which shows a strong implication that fashion is characterized by change. I have enjoyed seeing how different style choices have transformed the look of the model, instantly adding more interest to my photographs. The intent of my art is to embody the idea of how fashion can give someone who is wearing it a whole new and different persona.
Compulsion is the one word to describe why I make my art. I have an intense desire to shoot photographs that only increases between each photoshoot. Taking, editing, and finalizing pictures gives me a feeling that I can not put into words; it’s almost like a dopamine fix. This feeling is intensified with the models initial reactions to the photographs; hearing the models say “this is the prettiest I’ve ever felt” or “you make me feel like I can be my true self.”
I love how fashion portraiture has the potential to reveal different aspects of the individual. Not only can fashion change the way someone looks, but also how they feel about themselves and even others.
I am most excited for finishing up my senior portfolio for my final art show at the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. I am also very proud of the the work I have been producing for this show. I have pushed myself the most I ever have creatively for this project.
I chose the University of Mary Hardin Baylor to pursue my other love, soccer. I think the main challenge I have had to overcome is not having the chance to attend a big art school and have the resources to help produce my work. Even though I lack resources, I think it has helped me push my artistic abilities even more.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Because I am a college student at UMHB in Belton, TX, I have not had a lot of time to go out in Dallas. With that being said, I still have come across some awesome places. If I were to bring a friend to the area, I would definitely take them to Deep Ellum. This place has such a creative atmosphere.You can find a lot of artists and really great restaurants to eat.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There have been a lot of different influences and people in my life that have helped get me where I am now. One of the main reasons I even picked up a camera was because of my dad. He enjoyed taking pictures and documenting everything around him. Because of this, I started experimenting with picture taking at a young age and continued to perfect my craft throughout high school and college. If it weren’t for my parents love and encouragement to pursue what I am passionate about, I don’t think I would’ve chosen to pursue an art major in college.
Jessica Kobeissi is my second most considerable influence; her photos introduced me to the concept of fashion portraiture. She inspired my responsive way of shooting models and choosing locations that are not conventionally considered “pretty”. Once I discovered the fashion aspect of photography, I couldn’t go back to normal portraiture. I had never been interested in fashion until I came across her pictures. She inspired my photography, but also the idea of fashion in my every day life.
Lastly, I want to thank my professor, John Hancock. He has helped push my creative limits in college and made me realize that I am capable of really great things. If I didn’t have this support as a graphic design major, I think I could’ve just slipped into the easier route of taking on graphic design full time.