Dundas London: Hey Kelvin, we’re excited to be catching up with you and hearing about your work and travels. Can you tell us a bit about what you do and how you got started.
Kelvin Trautman: For the past 15 years I have worked as an adventure photographer/filmmaker. To begin with most of my work focussed on documenting athletes and explorers. A big part of what drew me to these assignments was that they often demanded the storyteller to be alongside the subjects in the thick of the action - selfishly I never wanted to be left on the sidelines documenting a story from afar and much preferred swimming, sailing, climbing running with camera in hand. I’m relishing being at the intersection of adventure, art and advocacy.
DL: Amazing, you’ve had quite the career! Having worked with brands such as Red Bull, The North Face, Gore-Tex and with your work having taken you around the world, what stands out as your most exciting adventure so far?
KT: I always find it tough picking favourites, but I guess the stand out adventures have been the expeditions to Antarctica. It’s a landscape so far removed from what we are used to that you can’t help walk around the place in a daze of novelty and wonder. I have been fortunate enough to visit the frozen continent a number of times and the latest expedition saw us spending a few weeks scouting and documenting parts of the melting ice cap for an ocean conservation campaign. Some of the glacial rivers and mountains we got to swim down and climb had never seen a human footprint before which certainly was an adventure.
DL: What inspires you the most when you’re working on a project and why do you think locations and the outdoors are important for story telling?
KT: As a storyteller who relies on photographs to communicate I’m always on the hunt for that one scene that is beautiful and poignant. For many reasons my muse has long been the wild fringes of our planet, so I guess what inspires me most is finding (researching and scouting) and documenting the landscapes and scenes where the alchemy of beauty and narrative poignancy are most profound. For sometime now the outlet for this.
Kelvin sporting a Dundas Safari Grey on Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa
DL: It seems as though you’ve visited every possible landscape and habitat - from the mountains of Southern Africa to Iceland, and from the Dead Sea in Israel to Antarctica. But what has left you speechless and in awe and wonder of the nature world?
KT: A place that stands out is the tip of South America. The Beagle Channel and its surrounding archipelago is a mash of two contrasting worlds - polar and temperate - where glaciers sit right next to verdant forests, and penguins dot beaches and condors the skies above. It’s like visiting a microcosm of our planet, and it’s no wonder Darwin found the place so formative.
Image taken by Kelvin Trautman
DL: Sounds awesome! If you could pinpoint one thing you’ve learnt from all your travel and adventures, what would it be?
KT: It was coined by dirtbag turned green business eco warrior, Yvon Chounaird but travel and adventure really does show you that the more you know, the less you need - this sounds simple but it can change the way you live day to day in very profound ways.
DL: And finally, what do you have planned for your next adventure?
KT: We just had a little girl so the adventures for the time being are going to be domestic - as I’m sure every parent will agree it is amazing getting to see the world through the eyes of someone who is fascinated by everything, particularly the small and mundane things we so often overlook.
Kelvin wears Dundas Safari Tuscan