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Meet The African Artist As The Muse Who Has Taken His Work International

Published 4 months ago
By Lillian Roberts

HE’S OUR MAN IN THE UNITED KINGDOM. former FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 lister and South African photographer and creative director Trevor Stuurman is currently featuring his first solo exhibition outside of South Africa.

The collection of self-portraits, Trevor Stuurman: Life Through The Lens, opened in May at Doyle Wham, a contemporary African photography gallery in the UK.

“What I’m most looking forward to is entering a new market and having a different audience to my work. I’m quite comfortable with my digital audience but having an audience within a gallery space, and the opportunities that will bring – to just have my voice and my work living, having multiple lives outside of the digital space,” Stuurman says of this new personal show.

Hailing from Kimberley in South Africa’s Northern Cape province, Stuurman burst onto the scene after winning the ELLE Style Reporter Search award in 2012.

He has since photographed the likes of Barack Obama, Beyoncé, Teyana Taylor, Shanelle Nyasiase, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Imaan Hammam.

But his favorite yet? Naomi Campbell.

“I think she’s such an icon and shooting her gave me so much more confidence. She’s someone who does not hold on. And she trusts. She didn’t want to go through the images, she just said ‘pick your favorite and let’s go’. That instilled a lot of trust in me, that someone like a supermodel and an icon like herself would have so much trust in someone like me. It marked a moment in time in my life as well,” says the happy lensman.

Rihanna would be a dream to photograph, he mulls. Yet another would be Trevor Noah, firstly, because they share a first name and are both South African. Stuurman loves how far Noah has come, how he breaks down an issue, whilst still giving his point of view. He’s unbiased and biased, he adds.

But Stuurman has never seen himself as art, despite being a muse to many. He asked unnecessary questions while shooting for the Doyle Wham exhibition.

“It was a good exercise of self-care and self-love. So I think it’s definitely a test of self-love. And a celebration of that as well,” says the distinctive creator and AFDA graduate.

Another solo exhibition, A Place Called Home, in Johannesburg, South Africa, is ongoing in partnership with art curator Botho Project Space, until June 19.

The more Stuurman leaves home, the more he realizes the power and currency home has, his website says.

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