TREVOR STUURMAN: SA Photographer Setting The Pace

We know, we know, this post should have come out yesterday (sorry!) but in our defence, Trevor Stuurman has one fascinating Instagram page! First thing you notice about this South African photographer, blogger and stylist is that he has impeccable style. Secondly, you may believe that he has the wanderlust bug from the way he’s been able to travel. While he shows the attributes of each region he travels to, you’ll observe that he ultimately stays true to his taste. That he, somehow, simultaneously manages to fit into the picture whilst standing out (Trust us, you’ll see it too when you check out his Instagram page). But let’s backtrack a little. Who is this photographer, whose street style portraiture is sought after and has been mentioned as one of the New Guards in Marie Claire’s Image Makers 2018 Awards? Below are just but a few snippets to highlight why he’s considered the ‘cool kid on the block’.

 

About Stuurman

To say that he’s highly driven would be an understatement. His SA Street Style photography landed him the Style Reporter title at ELLE SA in 2012. What makes him such a creative force is his involvement with diverse projects.  This has seen him work behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week with MAC, as well as, receive awards such as House & Leisure 2014 Rising Star, Destiny Magazines The Power 40 list, GQ Best Dressed Man 2015, Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans 2015, to mention a few. While he does mention it in passing in the video above, Stuurman does have a postgraduate honours degree in Motion Picture at AFDA (The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance). Fun Fact: He co-directed a documentary following Laduma Ngxokolo’s career in the fashion industry.

[Image: Trevor Stuurman]

His unquestionable style and curiosity has made his opinion valuable in the fashion industry. Not only is he a trend consultant for Woolworths, but he was selected to be on the panel at Pitti Imagine in Italy; one of the world’s most significant men’s fashion forums. So, you know when he steps behind a camera, all these points of view make indispensable contributions to the final product. Hence, his work being featured in everyone from Glamour, ELLE, and Markham Digital Magazine to Grazia, and Vogue.

Afropunk festival [Image: © Trevor Stuurman]
Afropunk festival [Image: © Trevor Stuurman]
 

Yes, Vogue. British Vogue to be exact.

If you were looking for the motivation to spruce up your Instagram page, this is it. Stuurman’s Instagram page got him the opportunity when it caught the eye of the British edition of Vogue magazine.  And we’re not talking about just one image. The famous mag gave him the coveted space to run an extraordinary set of images. According to Huffington Post SA, the pictures were captured in Johannesburg during the Afropunk festival. Stuurman’s mission was to highlight some of the most intriguing and flamboyant personalities that attend the event.

Arise Fashion Week [Image: Trevor Stuurman for British Vogue]
Arise Fashion Week [Image: Trevor Stuurman for British Vogue]
 

Now we’re going to use this as a teaching moment on the importance of seizing every moment. See, the Afro Punk Festival Joburg took place between 30th December 2017 and 1st January 2018, right? By April his work was being featured on British Vogue yet again, capturing a fresh take on the Arise Fashion Week. Invited to this Nigerian-based showcase by Naomi Campbell, he captured the event’s diverse attendees in such a way that showcases just how diverse and complex African Fashion is. “Witnessing the varied styles was a reminder that Africa is not a single story,” he said in an interview with Vogue. Basically, when you’re given a shot, take it and knock it out of the park every single time.

Arise Fashion Week [Image: Trevor Stuurman for British Vogue]

He’s a ‘Creative Superhero’

We’re not surprised that he was one of the five accomplished multi-disciplinary artists that Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company reached out to. Or that they called him a ‘creative superhero’ either. According to i-D Vice Magazine, they were asked to reimagine and commemorate the Afrofuturistic themes of the film. In particular, he was creating supporting visuals for the Euro Black Panther Premier.

Photography Trevor Stuurman and Obakeng Molepe. Costume Design Trevor Stuurman and Manthe Ribane. Creative Director Trevor Stuurman 
Photography Trevor Stuurman and Obakeng Molepe. Costume Design Trevor Stuurman and Manthe Ribane. Creative Director Trevor Stuurman

 

Stuurman drew his inspiration from the power of women in Africa’s history. In an interview with Afrenai he elaborates, “Since time immemorial to the present, from the southern tip to the most northern part of our continent, countless women have been performing superhero feats to keep Africa’s fires burning. In the same breath, the future is female.” Working with model, Manthe, he wanted to bring out the fire aspect. Using the orange batik fabric to represent the fire, while Manthe’s silhouette represented a volcano, he reinforced the idea that Africa is the fire and continues to keep them burning.

Photography Trevor Stuurman and Obakeng Molepe. Costume Design Trevor Stuurman and Manthe Ribane. Creative Director Trevor Stuurman

 

Speaking of Superheroes

Remember how we first mentioned Stuurman in our Africa’s Creative Revolution post? Apart from taking on the role as The Explorer in the ‘Africa On Fire’ film, he teamed up with Vlisco to contribute to effort to change the way the world sees Africa. He set up a photo booth during the One Source Live festival where he captured the images below using Vlisco fabrics. He dubbed the collaboration ‘Teleporting Into Africa – Transported by Trevor Stuurman’, and according to the Vlisco website, describes it as follows:

“Where are we without the lines drawn in the sand that restrict us? Who can we become if we reimagined ourselves before distractions? Where would we visit if we wanted to communicate, collaborate and create? Why would we take flight? What time would we embark on this spiritual and creative conquest? The time is now. African time is the authentic time of journey. Let’s take a pit stop to the corners of our home. Take flight teleporting to a reimagined African realm.”

[Image: © Trevor Stuurman]
[Image: © Trevor Stuurman]
[Image: © Trevor Stuurman]
[Image: © Trevor Stuurman]
 

The South African take on Adidas S/S18 range – Adicolor

Adidas took their iconic look from the 1970s and remastered it for 2018 with the Adicolor range. The brand decided to go with intensely, striking colours which they called Bluebird, Fairway Green, Scarlett Red and Sun Yellow. Adidas commissioned Stuurman to kick off the launch in South Africa, and he created imagery that incorporated backdrops and props laden with symbolism. The result managed to be deep with meaning, whilst maintaining the playful spirit of the collection. It also showed the spirit of the Adidas original while presenting a fresh viewpoint.

[Image: Trevor Stuurman and Obakeng Molepe]
[Image: Trevor Stuurman and Obakeng Molepe]
[Image: Trevor Stuurman and Obakeng Molepe]
 

Let’s take a moment to acknowledge that it’s only been six years since he became Elle’s Street Style Reporter. And now he’s working with global giants like Adidas. Moreover, that he always uses his platform – be it a backstage photography or campaign projects – to contribute to a richer narrative about the continent.

 

To Digress: He’s Got Some Serious Hat Game

We’re convinced that he has an entire atelier of hats, because almost always has one on. And they come in a variety of shapes and colours. Consequently, he collaborated with Simon and Mary to create the Fez hats which were inspired by Ndebele culture. According to an interview with Mini Living SA, “The Fez hat’s silhouette reminded me so much of [Ndebele] bracelets, I wanted to translate that into hats. I drew the colourways from that kind of beadwork.” The result was an organic collaboration that saw a contemporary translation of a culture come to life. And of course it was accompanied by a stellar photoshoot by him.

[Image: Simphiwe Mkhwanazi]
[Image: Simphiwe Mkhwanazi]
[Image: Simphiwe Mkhwanazi]
 

There may not be as many interviews floating around on the web – unfortunately we couldn’t reach him for a direct interview either. Nevertheless, his page does an excellent job in representing him, as well as, showing just how dynamic, vibrant, and multidimensional Africa is. That there are so many stories to share, and in varying ways, that show how rich the continent is.

[Image: © Trevor Stuurman]

 

Then there’s the overall message we keep receiving from his career thus far; be open enough to explore new creative fields and networks, as well as, when given the opportunity, crush it. Always put your best foot forward. He further scores points for his continuous endeavour to cultivating the culture of collaboration among creatives. But don’t take out word for it, check out his page and share with us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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