Kirsten Oliver Photography

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My story

On assignment at a surf ski event, Durban – South Africa. Photo: Jon Ivins

Me – in photography

The world is a magical place! It is jam packed with mind blowing places, fascinating creatures and charming cultures. Exploring and teasing out the magic is only half of the life that makes me tick, sharing it with the world is other half.

Photography has been part of my life for as long as I can remember – my father was a professional photographer and I spent my childhood surrounded by beautiful images and fridges filled with endless spools of film.  My father gave me my first camera – a hand-me-down – taught me the rules of light balance and further inspired my photography journey by asking me to send him and my mum a photographic story to illustrate my life abroad.  That simple request for insight into my life honed my attention on how you really can tell a whole lot of story in the capture of a simple instant in time.



Me – in life

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Kirsten – Madagascar 2014

I have never truly been a stalwart for a single direction in life.  As a kid I was equally passionate about ballet as I was about canoeing on the wild rivers in South Africa.  At University I pursued a degree that was part theatrical and part science.  Strangely the two gelled quite well with me, despite the headache it caused everyone else.  So now, it only makes sense that I am part artist, part scientist!

When I am not traveling the world to capture magical adventures, I’m a geographer and a conservation scientist. I am a deputy director of The Wildlands Conservation Trust, a conservation NGO in South Africa.  My work affords me opportunities that help make a difference in the world – a difference to animals, people and the environment in which we all live – and typically it also affords me unique photographic opportunities.

I have traveled more than most, initially as part of sporting tours to international canoeing and White Water rafting events, and more recently as part of my personal, insatiable travel bug.  I firmly believe that the best way to learn humility and respect for the world and its many peoples, creatures and landscapes is to visit them and immerse yourself in their natural environment – whether that’s in a big city or a remote village high in the Himalayas.  Having competed locally and internationally in canoeing and white water rafting, I understand that competing in an adventure sport is more than just you against the other competitors, it is also you against the physical elements, the climatic elements, and your own reaction to all of those.  Capturing that story is fascinating and beautiful, not only in sport, but in all life.

I’m a canoeist and former South African White Water Rafter, both have taken me places most people never get to see.

I live on a farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in South Africa.  I’m South African to the core – I love my country, its eclectic people, its beautiful spaces, its animals…

Finally, I love to take photographs!  I am rarely without my camera and am definitely a candidate for that T’shirt with the slogan:

If I can’t take my camera, I’m not going! – Unknown

On assignment at the Nordic Islands Adventure Race in Norway