Cyndie Burkhardt grew up in the seashore town of Cape May, NJ where she loved to swim in the ocean, ride her bike, and explore the outdoors. It was at University of the Arts, PA, where she majored in photography and graphic design, that she discovered a way to combine her appetite for life with her artistic spirit. These passions led her to pack her bags and roam the globe, with (film) camera in hand, sparking new avenues for expression.
Talking to locals, observing how they live, and seeking authentic experiences are her means of immersing into a place. Appreciating the similarities and differences among people from diverse walks of life became a focal point for her lens. Her visual documentaries of the Norwegian coast, China, Sicily, Israel, Cuba, Croatia, and other places reveal a keen eye for cultural distinctiveness and lifestyle nuances.
Burkhardt pursued a corporate career to learn the merits of business, ranging from branding and design to marketing, communications, and public relations. With an established career, she re-focused on her art and graduated from the International Center of Photography (ICP), NYC in the first class of its pioneering New Media Narratives program. She evolved as a digital storyteller, embracing multimedia, podcasting, and writing.
In 2019, she left home to travel and live in 12 countries in 12 months to discover healing practices in different societies, in real time, with real people. From South America to Mexico, Cuba, Asia, and Europe, she created a visual storytelling project to tell their stories. When Covid-19 stopped her travels in Croatia, she stayed and lived there for over two years. A digital nomad was born.
The relationship between travel and connecting with others has held long-standing appeal for Burkhardt. Direct experiences formed her belief in the power of travel to shape a person’s outlook on life—including perception, identity, and tolerance.
An ongoing theme in her work involves not only giving voice to other cultures but encouraging viewers to engage with those cultures. For her, sharing stories is part of a socially minded practice that fosters dialogue, understanding, and acceptance. Burkhardt’s work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo shows in China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, and the United States. She’s received numerous accolades including a photography grant that resulted in a “best-in-show” award early in her career. She helped co-curate Public, Private, Secret, the inaugural exhibition of ICP’s new museum opening on the Bowery in 2016, and she helped produce ICP Hack the Photo, the school’s first-ever hackathon, in 2016 and 2017. From 2020-21, she created and hosted the live storytelling series Virtual Traveler to help people escape the isolation of the pandemic through collective storytelling and togetherness.