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Outdoor photographer Chris Burkard has always felt at home among the waves. With the ocean as his primary muse, Burkard depicts the elusive relationship between humanity and nature, finding a particular fondness in the extreme: the “too cold, too remote, too dangerous.” He believes, “Anything worth pursuing requires us to suffer just a tiny bit.”


Photography: Chris Burkard


Photography: Natalia Stone



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As the sun rises over Lake Asale, photographer Natalia Stone catches a glimpse of Ethiopian salt traders luring camels through the desert as they approach the end of a threeday journey into the next town to harvest their bounty. Enraptured by the beauty in every corner of the Earth, Stone left a life of comfort and financial stability to return to her wayfaring roots and share her stories with the world.



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What is plausible versus possible? Erik Johansson explores new ideas in the game of plausibility through color, contrast, and depth to essentially erase the borders between two images and capture impossible photography.

Photography: Erik Johansson




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Aq u a n a u t Alexander Semenov captured this biolu m i ne s ce nt j e l ly f i s h emerging from the dark reaches of the sea. Through his explorations, Semenov captivates audiences from around the world by sharing photographs that introduce exotic sea life.

Photography: Alexander Semenov





CREATIVITY MATTERS global community






CHRIS BURKARD Crusade Against the Mundane Words: Jessica Cyrell Photography: Chris Burkard

When Chris Burkard thinks of his childhood, he thinks of the beach. Having grown up on California’s Central Coast, he feels the beach raised him. The sand and sea sculpted him into a man of the natural world. “We spent all day there, sunrise to sunset,” he remembers. “I guess for some families it’s a huge

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outing, but because we lived near the coast, the sand was like a second home. That really shaped me – the idea of adventures and micro-adventures so close to home. It helped me to realize you don’t have to go far from home to have a connection with the outdoors.”

around the world

“If shivering is a form of meditation, then I consider myself a monk.” – Chris Burkard


THE ADVENTURE Raised by the ocean’s swell, it was only natural for Burkard to become a surfer. When his love of wave riding collided with his passion for taking pictures, he fell into a career in surf photography. But after exhausting the warm, tropical surf locations of the world, he wanted more. “I began craving wild open spaces,” he says. “So, I set out to find the places people had written off as too cold, too remote, too dangerous to surf.” It became a trying experience just getting to these locations, let alone surviving the conditions upon arrival. But that made it all the more rewarding. Praising the ascetic, Burkard says, “If shivering is a form of meditation, then I consider myself a monk.”

THE SURF In what he describes as his coldest experience, Burkard was in Norway, where the water hovered above freezing temperature, and the air at about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. “After about 30 minutes I couldn’t feel my hands or feet,” he says. “But the surf was too good to [leave]. I kept shooting until I physically could not move; I was so disoriented, I didn’t know if the waves were pushing me out to sea or pulling me into the jagged shore. It took three surfers to pull me out of the water... to this day it makes my head feel numb and my fingers tremble.”


“I was so disoriented, I didn’t know if the waves were pushing me out to sea or pulling me into the jagged shore.” – Chris Burkard

THE COLD Even beyond the biting cold, Burkard’s life of adventure has not been without hardship. In what he considers his darkest moment, he contracted a staph infection in Tahiti. “I spent two months in bed lying on my back and squeezing pus out of my wound. It was miserable.” But it wasn’t the pain that

made it so challenging. “Some people might say I am spastic or ADD,” he admits, “so, being forced to stay in bed was just as horrible on my mind as on my body. There was a point where red lines were running up my leg, and I thought I might lose it.”


THE LIGHT Coming from darkness, the light is that much brighter. Burkard seems to illustrate the most beautiful moments in his photographs, proving that sometimes, one instant in time is pure magic. Ironically, he notes, “I usually have no idea in the moment when I have gotten a shot worth capturing. So, it’s always kind of crazy to look back at the image.” Though Burkard has received major accolades for his photography, has published five books of his work, and has shot for such respected commercial brands as American Airlines, Apple, Volkswagen, and Volcom, he maintains, “All my best images have been that way. When standing on a stage for an award, I am always really humbled.”

THE BLISS Burkard finds bliss and strength in the adversity he faces. In the harsh wild, “every photo I was forced to earn,” he notes. “All the shivering taught me something: in life, there are no shortcuts to joy. Anything worth pursuing requires us to suffer just a tiny bit.” After revealing this theory in his TED Talk this year, the quote was released online without context, stirring up quite a controversy. With pride, Burkard notes, “Nothing important that was ever said wasn’t debated over. I love


that it is polarizing people.” He views the dissent as “very telling of the type of people in the world today: people who feel entitled to things – even things like joy – and feel like they don’t have to work for them or suffer for them.” Looking back on his words and the effect they have had on his followers, Burkard remarks, “If there is any new revelation, it would be that I am grateful to have an opinion – to have felt things and seen things so deeply that they have enabled me to take a stance on something.”

“In life, there are no shortcuts to joy. Anything worth pursuing requires us to suffer just a tiny bit.” – Chris Burkard

THE INSPIRATION Burkard continues traveling to the ends of the world, today shooting for Surfer Magazine as senior staff photographer. Never one to get comfortable, he is even developing his first children’s book, motivated by his two young sons. “I’m always trying to keep my life focused on inspiration, without putting myself in a box,” he explains. His greatest aspirations in life, he says, are to “be a good father and continue to inspire people to seek out wild places – places where their hearts can roam free.”


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YOSEMITE COREY RICH Photographer Corey Rich shares his stunning perspective of climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson. The first to complete a free ascent of Dawn Wall, the climbers spent 19 days on the wall, reaching the summit of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on January 14, 2015.

Photography: Corey Rich



Photographer, Podcaster, and Philanthropist

Photography: Courtesy of Nick Onken Words: Justin Saint Jean

Between recording episodes of his podcast and raising money to a build school with Pencils of Promise, entrepreneur and photographer Nick Onken travels the world – he’s just returned from attending a friend’s wedding in Antarctica – and finds time for new adventures. “I’ve gotten a lot more into hats in the last six months of my life,” he divulges. “I have a new friend who has a hat-making factory in Manhattan, so we’ve been collaborating on different things and I’ve been able to make a few. I’ve designed a few – like four hats now? And it’s just kind of been something that’s a lot of fun… I think it’s just kind of the way my life ebbs and flows, what I discover through other people.” While it was Onken’s willingness to go with the flow that ultimately led him from the study of graphic design to a career in photography, he did not necessarily follow the path of least resistance. “The economy was going downhill, so my business kind of slowed down a lot,” he recalls. “As an artist, your creative vision is who you are, which


is your product, so if you’re not getting hired for it as much as you used to – for me, it made me question myself. Subconsciously I was creating my selfworth and value out of the work I was doing and not the person I was being.” Onken attributes his emergence from this downward spiral to former pro athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur Lewis Howes, who introduced him to an emotional intelligence and leadership training. “It helped me build a really conscious awareness of my thought life and who I was being as a person. It’s really expanded my realm of possibility and what I’m creating in my life.” After being invited to appear on Howes’ podcast “School of Greatness,” Onken was inspired to create his own podcast, “SHOPTALKradio,” dedicated to discussing the interests of creative entrepreneurs. “It’s a great way for me to grow and a great way for me to connect with other influencers and people who inspire me, and be able to share their message with my audience.” Putting the message in action, Onken also works with Pencils of

Promise, a for-purpose organization that builds sustainable schools and education programs for children in the developing world. After connecting with the founder and CEO Adam Braun in 2009, Onken flew himself to Laos to shoot and help bring visibility to the cause. As the official Pencils of Promise photographer, Onken has supported the cause not only by extensively documenting their efforts but by fundraising, as well. His current campaign has already brought in over $15,000 – or, as he puts it in relation to the cost of building a school – more than halfway there. If his accomplishments as a photographer, podcaster, and philanthropist weren’t enough, Onken plans on rolling out a lifestyle brand in the near future. With the ongoing success of his current ventures and others certain to come, how does he describe his work to others? “Well, typically I tell them I make pretzels and sell them in Times Square,” he says with a laugh. “They’re gluten-free.”

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CONNECT Photography: Nick Onken 21


FRANCE TRISTAN SHU Best known for his work in the fields of outdoor action and extreme sports, French photographer Tristan Shu proves yet again why he is considered an up-and-coming master of the form, with this dynamic shot of a paraglider cruising high above the French Alps at sunset.

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Photography: Tristan Shu


ALEXANDER SEMENOV The Underwater Aquanaut

“To date, we have studied less than 5 percent of the ocean. I’ve had the chance to explore this unseen realm... to share everything with you.” – Alexander Semenov

Photography: Fedor Bolshakov Words: Joe Strandell & Emily Rudolph

Capturing the hidden beauty of underwater sealife, deep sea explorer Alexander Semenov uses his talent as a marine biologist and photographer to share the intricacies of exotic jellyfish, colorful coral reefs, and never-beforeseen sea snails with the world. Currently based in Moscow, Semenov serves as the Director of the Divers’ Team at the White Sea Biological Station. Next year, he will


lead Aquatilis Expedition, a three-year, 35,000-nautical-mile ocean trek on a 70-foot yacht, to discover the unknown and document the world’s most extraordinary sea creatures. “To date, we have studied less than 5 percent of the ocean. I have the chance to explore this unseen realm, along with other scientists and adventurers, and not only discover all this hidden beauty in the deep, but to share everything with you,”

says Semenov. The voyage will take him and his team through the Atlantic, Azores, the Caribbean, Argentina, Brazil, Cape Horn, Chile, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Semenov will embark on this incredible quest as part of his journey to illustrate both the brooding delicacy and voluminous wonder forever encased within the deep blue sea.


CONNECT Photography: Alexander Semenov 25


AUSTRALIA WILL PATINO Australian photographer Will Patino ventures into fierce waters off the coast of Sydney in search of the perfect wave. “We live in a fast-paced world,” he says. “But my time with the camera is where I am able to slow down and appreciate things in their simplest form.” It is a sentiment perfectly echoed in his image “Ascension” which depicts the ocean crashing against itself, forever breaking but never broken.

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Photography: Will Patino


TIM FLACH Fierce Beauty Words: Paige Zeigler Photography: Tim Flach

Getting closer than most to some of the world’s most adored (and feared) creatures is all in a day’s work for celebrated animal photographer Tim Flach. Capturing moments that invite viewers to examine how we inhabit this planet with the species around us, Flach chooses his subjects carefully, and he isn’t in it for the chase: “I am actually far more interested in the notion of anthropocentrism; how we humans center ourselves in relation to animals, and make ourselves the center of our worlds. In a compositional sense, I will want to lead people to the most empathetic details.” And it’s in the details that Flach


captures an alluring spectrum of features – some surprisingly humanoid – that create breathtaking connection points with unexpected animals. In his “Egyptian Fruit Bat” photograph, Flach illuminates the “undeniably mammalian” wing structure with surprising detail. “At the time I was taking Polaroids, and I turned the Polaroid upside down by mistake,” Flach reminisced in an interview about the piece with The Washington Post. “We become such creatures of habit that we want to find the eyes above the feet.” But the error led to Flach’s intentional decision to invert the final composition so the bat appears to be standing, to shift

viewers’ feelings on bats from “being strangely other to strangely familiar.” Viewing his craft as a medium for storytelling, Flach notes, “My interest is less in their wild nature and more in what they say about us.” Through carefully curated and elegantly published collections including “Equus” (2008), “Dogs” (2010), “Fierce Beauty” (2012), and “More Than Human” (2012), Flach continues to share new views of not only the most exotic animals, but also of our most familiar pet companions. “We humans think we are unique,” Flach says, “But perhaps we are just human animals.”



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Photography: Cory Poole



CALIFORNIA CORY POOLE High school calculus and physics teacher by day, Poole shot this timelapse sequence of the Milky Way appearing to rotate around Mount Shasta as the Earth turned underneath it.


ERIK JOHANSSON Plausible vs. Possible

“You need quantity to achieve quality. You have to really spend time doing something and make the mistakes to actually become better.” – Erik Johansson

Words: Paige Zeigler Photography: Erik Johansson

Born in Sweden and now based in Berlin, Erik Johansson describes himself simply as an artist. “In Berlin, you can just say you’re an artist, because everyone is an artist here. Everyone says they are. Usually I present myself as a photographer, I think because it’s a bit hard to say that I do photography with a lot of composing.” Johansson picked up photography more seriously while studying computer engineering in college. “It didn’t feel like photography or illustration or anything was a proper profession. I thought computers were interesting, so I just did engineering.” He started composing photographs “on the side” and picked up freelance jobs with local ad agencies when he finished school, noting the success now associated with his work happened gradually. “When I started making these photos, my goal was not really to make money out of it. It was more trying to challenge myself to create something


that’s realistic, although it’s impossible often. I started posting images on different websites to get feedback to see how I could improve.” After his work appeared on the DeviantArt website and select English international photo communities online, Johansson remembers: “It kind of exploded, and a lot of blogs published my work, and it spread quite fast. I started getting some requests for stuff, and I think at the point I realized, ‘Hey, maybe I can start doing this for a living.’” He has been pursuing his work “full time, more or less” since 2010. “It’s partly personal work and [partly] commission work,” he notes. Johansson tries to publish 10 pictures a year on his website, but strives to continually evolve. “What people see on my website in 10 years might be quite different from what you see today. “ He continues, “I want to challenge myself and create something more complicated. Creating these images

is like a balance between having an interesting idea and having an idea that makes people wonder if I actually made it. I think with the newer work I do, it’s a little more problem solving I have to sometimes build stuff and photograph certain parts and different locations.” His dedication to learning continues to propel his work in new directions. “I’m still learning, but somehow I think there are not really shortcuts to becoming really good at something. You really have to spend time doing it, and I mean, you gotta love it and you just have to keep going.” He adds, ”Learning by trying is a really good way to do something. There are great tutorials out there [on] how to do specific techniques, but in order to actually understand how things work and how they affect a picture, you have to just experiment, and you have to make mistakes, and then you become better.”



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BOHEMIAN FOREST PETER BOROVICKA Photographer Peter Borovicka stumbled across this eerie, autumn-hued vision during a walk in the foothills of the Bohemian Forest in 2012, and affectionately named this photograph “Redhead” as a nod to the “beautifully aligned and flattened grass” bringing to mind the image of combed red hair.


NATALIA STONE Photography Phenom Words: Anna Harris Photography: Natalia Stone

“Normal” rarely described Natalia Stone’s life growing up. Living in Moscow under the oppressive constraints of a Soviet Russia, Stone’s parents, although highly educated, struggled to stay afloat financially, and eventually immigrated with the family to the U.S. in the ‘90s. But Stone admits, “As a child, I didn’t think of myself as poor. I had so many riches: loving parents, the beauty of snowy winters, the joy of long summer days, close community, and close friends.” Still, Stone’s childhood memories –

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the happy as well as the dark and uncertain – left a lasting impact. Years later, Stone found herself pining for the wider world and gave up the closest thing to a normal life she had running a successful IT company, sold most of her possessions, and started telling stories through photography professionally. “Every day I am lucky to do what I love,” she beams. “No amount of financial security from a more profitable career could buy that.”



“Once I discovered what I truly loved quote fromI am Natalia – what aligns“awith who – will go here!” - natalia stone there was no going back.” – Natalia Stone

“Karo men paint their bodies and faces with white chalk to look as fierce as possible. It’s a daily routine that scares off enemies and also serves the purpose of making themselves more attractive to the opposite sex.” – Natalia Stone

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THE FEAR The transition from “normal” to extraordinary was a transformational gateway to joy for Stone. Intimidated by solo travel, she was pushed out of that comfort zone by an unhappiness that turned into a six-month-long depression. When she finally made the leap just a few years ago, she realized that the mind creates most fears with the sole purpose of paralyzing the one held captive. She recalls, “I learned to overcome obstacles in life by accepting [them] and not resisting – by taking it one day at at a time, focusing on changing things I could and becoming at peace with those I cannot.”

THE INSPIRATION Stone’s childhood summer trips to various parts of Russia with her mother fostered her fascination with the world at large. The experiences left an emotional imprint that contributed to the restlessness Stone felt as an adult living what a ladder-climbing culture would consider a successful life. “Although too young to remember most of the places we visited, the emotions I felt still remain with me to this day,” she explains. “The excitement of exploring new places, a sense of the unknown, and just taking it in one moment at a time.” Those trips fed a wanderlust inside Stone, laying the foundation for her photography.

THE GROWTH Once Stone crossed the threshold and began traveling alone, she found she had abandoned many fears and was learning to live more fully in the moment. “I feel that the low points in one’s life, even though unpleasant, are actually the best for personal growth,” she shares. “We rarely do anything when we are feeling content and comfortable.” Today, she brings that wisdom to others through her images: “Whether they were able to see the beauty of our planet through a photograph or were moved by how overcoming challenges led to personal growth, bringing about positive emotions – and hopefully positive changes – in people is the greatest reward from what I do.”

Photography: Mikhail Skvortsov

THE BEAUTY It was not until Stone dove into the abyss that she learned what means to feel grounded. Through the discomfort and the unknown that often comes with pursuing passion over financial stability, she learned to value intangible moments, even when they can’t be preserved through the lens of her camera. “Looking back, I am grateful for every low point that happened,” she says. “I learned the most valuable things by being outside of my comfort zone. [And] when I experience cities and culture around the world, take in the beauty of our planet, feel one with nature, and tell stories that resonate with others, I feel blessed, fulfilled, and alive.”


“Hamar men pay very special attention to face painting and hair. They use ostrich feathers as part of their headdress, which symbolizes hunting and the domain of nature. To protect the hairdo, men always carry wooden headrests they use as pillows. This young fellow was about to get married, so his face is painted with the heart symbol.” – Natalia Stone

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“Mursi women are known for their lip plates and decorative scars. Every girl has her lip cut at the age of 15. A small clay plate [is] inserted into the opening and replaced over time with a bigger one as the lip stretches. The larger the plate, the more the woman is worth by the time she gets married.” – Natalia Stone



MAURITIUS KIRILL UMRIKHIN Acclaimed action sports photographer Kirill Umrikhin seeks to illustrate “the beauty of the underwater world.” Immersing himself in the sapphire waters off the coast of Mauritius, Umrikhin captured professional windsurfer Olya Raskina exploring the low tide above a magnificent coral reef.

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Photography: Kirill Umrikhin


LARA ZANKOUL Staging the Surreal

Photography: Cathy Lê Thanh Words: Molly Corso & Paige Zeigler

“For a long time I was not in touch with my creative side. Nevertheless, I always felt attracted to arts and would deeply and secretly wish to be creative,” says Lara Zankoul, whose website biography poignantly notes she “was born photographically in 2008.” Born in Lebanon in 1987, Zankoul remembers a childhood full of love for drawing and fondness for the visual arts. “But at a later age, I came to believe that I was far from the artistic field, due to my success in the more rational subjects.” Then at 21 years old, when she was financially independent, Zankoul purchased a professional camera, and her passion for portrait and staged photography became a career. The Ayyam Gallery Beirut presented Zankoul’s first solo exhibition in 2013 and described her photographic and cinematographic works as “contemporary fairytales, which explore the charm and mystery of the human psyche. Whimsical and playful, they represent an attempt to invent new worlds, to push against the boundaries of our reality and escape the monotony


of everyday life.” In “Chandelier,” a self-portrait taken at her grandparents’ house in her native Lebanon village, Zankoul is seen midswing on a chandelier in an empty room illuminated only by daylight pouring through the window. Her bare feet are dangling as her long brown hair flows against her red dress in a play on movement and shades of color. “It’s about hanging on to something fragile and dangerous,” she says. “Being an extremely visual person, it is easier for me to translate thoughts into imagery, rather than words.” “Oddly enough,” Zankoul notes, “I did not think of Sia’s song ‘Chandelier’ while creating the photo, but many people related the song to the picture, and that was a nice coincidence, so I named the photo after the song.” Zankoul describes her artistic photography as “conceptual, timeless, and surreal” with her imagery pulling on the power of illumination and color to evoke emotions. Her piece titled “Light” (page 16) conjures that fairytale feeling, with the luminous heroine in an

ethereal gown basking in the sunlight of an otherwise bare room; a single finger points to something outside the frame. Zankoul reveals it can take anywhere from two days to several months to turn a concept into a photograph. “Chandelier,” for example, was based on a concept Zankoul had tried to create before without success, though she admits failure “is sometimes necessary to grow.” She anticipates this year will bring a multitude of possibilities born from experimentation. “I am working on new concepts to shoot,” she says. “And I am looking forward to experimenting more and trying to execute all the ideas bustling in my mind. With experimentation comes a lot of uncertainty and possibilities of failure.” But ultimately in her lifetime, Zankoul says, “I hope to accomplish artistic continuity: to be able to keep producing interesting images in the long run; to push the boundaries of artistic photography and inspire.”


CONNECT Photography: Lara Zankoul


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ICELAND TYLER STABLEFORD Inside Iceland’s Langjökull Glacier, photographer Tyler Stableford captures the drama of the ice encircling adventurer Mark Jenkins as he explores the frosted cave. Iceland is one of the world’s most volcanically active regions, and the dark striations in this ice cave are layers of volcanic ash deposited over the millennia.

Photography: Tyler Stabelford



Words: Tiffany Mueller Photography: Brad Wilson

“I have always been interested in that precision which creates beauty – the exact instant when mood, stillness, and composition align to make something common suddenly uncommon, something expected suddenly unexpected. In many ways, my entire life in photography has been about trying to find those few elusive moments and capture them,” photographer Brad Wilson reveals. Trying to capture the evanescent is not easy to accomplish. Wilson attributes the difficulty to familiarity, which he says induces a peculiar type

of blindness. He candidly describes the phenomenon as “one that prevents me from seeing anything artistically compelling in the repetitive scenes of my everyday life, or along the roads I’ve already traveled.” He overcomes this obstacle by following his artistic instincts on various journeys, which have led him away from celebrity portraiture and into animal photography. Now working with creatures who operate on their own instinctual accord, the photographer has acquired a unique perspective on portrait photography.

The unfamiliarity brought about by a sudden lack of ability to direct and pose his subjects moved Wilson to look beyond conventional methods to develop a fresh approach to portraiture. Needing to capture a moment in time that cannot be forced, Wilson is left with only his patience to make it happen. The photographer studies his muse, waiting, hoping to capture that rare and fortuitous moment when the animal’s gaze fixes on the camera lens – a crucial, but fleeting moment Wilson affectionately refers to as the “holy grail.”

“The holy grail of all of it is the frontal gaze into the camera, something that happens quite rarely and lasts for only a few seconds at most.” - Brad Wilson

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PATAGONIA GREG BORATYN There’s Patagonia as seen in the famous brand’s logo, and then there’s Patagonia, as photographed by Greg Boratyn.

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Photography: Greg Boratyn






SENIOR EDITOR Jessica Cyrell

CREATIV CO-FOUNDERS Blake Brinker & Brad Thomas PUBLISHING ADVISOR Alex Cyrell COPY ADVISORS Chase Hall Susan Michelson COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Courtesy of Corey Rich COVER DESIGN magfirst

LEGAL STUFF Content published in CREATIV Magazine may have been licensed by independent contributors in which case the respective copyrights are the property of the respective owners. No content of this magazine may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means without the express permission of the respective copyright holders and/or the publisher. Opinions expressed in CREATIV Magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine, its editors, its management, or its advertisers.




OH SNAP. An issue that’s more than meets the eye. It’s what’s inside (this issue) that counts: + Travel to the ends of the world with self-t...