Award-winning visual artist Trevor Stuurman was called up to star in the campaign for German brand Montblanc’s latest campaign lensed in Paris alongside Jordanian DJ and model Basil AlHadi, French-Algerian singer Symon, Moroccan-French actor Samir Decazza, and internet sensation Fahd El, to name a few.
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“I’m not really a model,” mused the 29-year-old, who is more comfortable being behind the camera rather than in front of it. “It’s not something I see myself pursuing in the long run. I’m a photographer amongst many things and I’m happy with that,” he added.
Practically a household name in his native South Africa, Kimberley-born Stuurman is one of the few actors on the scene that have undeniably reached a universally “cool” status, marking each project he is creatively involved in with his distinctive and unique touch.
Since first bursting out on the scene, Stuurman, who discovered an interest in photography aged 14, has lensed figures that most photographers can only dream of, including Barack Obama, Teyana Taylor, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Naomi Campbell, and Imaan Hammam, among a host of others. Memorably, he worked on the styling and costume design for Beyonce’s 2020 film Black is King. His work also secured him a spot on the prestigious Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list.
Meanwhile, his critically-acclaimed work has been showcased in several galleries, including at Doyle Wham, a contemporary African photography gallery in the UK, where his first solo show outside of South Africa, Trevor Stuurman: Life Through The Lens, was on display until July 2.
However, the artist reveals that he is not motivated by titles or awards. ”Titles are great, they are created for glory but they’re not the power. I think that power comes from within and exists beyond the understanding of any title,” he explained, adding, “I’ve always been in practice of what I do. I think that persistence and practice is what brought me this far.”
In his work, the artist plays with themes of belonging, nostalgia, community, and comfort, citing the idea of “home” as a main inspiration.
“I get (inspiration) by unpacking what (home) means, what it is, what it can be, and what it should be like, which is also the central theme of one of my last exhibitions. Home for me is the true north. Whenever you follow your guts, you follow an instinct that feels familiar and that for me is home,” he revealed.
The visual artist is at the forefront of the new wave of change-makers pushing for more diversity and representation. He is on a mission to put Africa front and center on the map while showcasing its beauty and making sure that the continent, from North to South and from East to West, receives the recognition it rightfully deserves.
“I would describe myself as a ‘progressive global African,’” he said, when asked how he would introduce himself to those who don’t know him. “This means being rooted in where I come from and understanding that I exist in a bigger world.”