Renan Ozturk has been held at knifepoint in the deserts of Chad and suffered through hallucinations on highly technical Himalayan climbs. While making the prize-winning documentary MERU, about the first ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Meru in the Indian Himalayas, he had to live on a sheer wall for 12 days in temperatures that hovered around minus 20ºF. Not to mention that he was still recovering from cranial and spinal fractures sustained in a near-lethal skiing accident in Wyoming’s Tetons almost six months earlier.
Through it all, Renan has kept pursuing stories about our connection to the natural world, often set within extreme environments. In 2013 he was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year for his combination of cutting-edge first ascents and visual storytelling.
Born in Germany, Renan began his career as an expedition climber and landscape artist, spending years living in a tent beneath the big walls of U.S. National Parks and in the Himalayan Mountains. He created all of his paintings during expeditions, carrying large cotton canvases on his back and sometimes even using natural pigments pulled straight from the earth to capture these wildly beautiful landscapes.
My work often brings me to the most challenging environments on Earth, in order to elevate the voice of cultures and landscapes in need.
Currently, Renan works as a commercial and documentary filmmaker, is a cofounder of Camp 4 Collective, an expedition climber for The North Face, and a photojournalist for Sony and National Geographic. He is a pioneer in the use of cutting-edge technologies for near real-time screening of his adventures to a global audience. He has also directed and shot commercials for major international brands, such as Apple and Nike.
His passion is for projects with a strong visual identity matched with some deeply compelling human element, such as in his National Geographic feature story “The Last Honey Hunter.”
He lives in Park City, Utah.
Find out about upcoming programs and expeditions with National Geographic photographers, or view more work by Renan Ozturk.