Kirsten Oliver Photography

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My story

Kirsten Oliver-4166

Kirsten – Madagascar 2014

Me – in photography

As a professional photographer my focus is primarily on adventures in the wild – from adventure racing in exotic destinations to wildlife on the cusp of extinction.  I love to capture the right moment within the moment – the one that turns a great moment into a story.

Photography has been part of my life for as long as I can remember (my father was a professional photographer) and I’ve spent most of my years working toward the point I am now – to the passion I have developed for capturing and documenting the peculiar world around me and all the special interactions of people and animals and their lives, emotions and environments.  My father further inspired my photography journey when he requested I send he and my Mum a photographic story to illustrate my life abroad, while on a six month university exchange to northern Sweden.  It was a request that helped focus my attention on how you really can tell a whole bunch of story in a collection of images or reveal a heart warmimg or wrenching emotional saga in the capture of a single moment.

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

Me – in life

The side of me you may not know, if you see me capturing an adventure race or crouched down level with a small child to capture the delight in their world, is this…

I’m a geographer and a conservation scientist. I am a deputy director of a conservation NGO in South Africa (Wildlands Conservation Trust), and 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.

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, it’s eclectic people, it’s beautiful spaces, it’s 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

Sharing with some furry subjects. credit: Mariaan Ponsie

Sharing with some furry subjects. credit: Mariaan Ponsie