Perspectives of NamibiaFrom The Field
‘Namib’ translates to ‘vast place’ – a fitting name for one of the least crowded regions on the planet. Thanks to its progressive stance on conservation, Namibia retains much of its natural beauty and is home to a diverse range of wildlife that continues to thrive.
In partnership with the Namibian Tourism Board, Merrell teamed up with three European content creators to journey across the country and document their experience. Powered by the new Merrell Zion hiker, the photographers – who were meeting for the first time – curated their perspective of Namibia to tell their own stories of the adventure through the lens, each creating their own individual photo journals.
Sponsored by Merrell
Christian Schartner (Pongau, Austria)
‘Nature has a way of revealing colour palettes that stop you in your tracks’
‘Nature inspires and relaxes me at the same time. Every day you spend outside is different. It was in the outdoors, in the mountains of my native Austria, where my passion for photography was born – a passion I’ve been fortunate enough to turn into a living. For me, photography is like a sport where you never really arrive at the top as there’s always something else to learn or win. This is what inspires me.
‘I was struck by the Namib desert for its sheer scale and beauty. From a photographic perspective, the sand dunes are the dream subject. The shapes, and the way they dance across the skyline, are quite simply awesome. Due to the bareness of the infinite landscapes, the shapes take on a greater role – and the minimalism of the dunes provides the ideal canvas to experiment with.
‘Beyond the desert, there are so many other areas to take inspiration from. Experimenting with night photography was incredible – I’d certainly recommend for photographers with this interest to add Namibia to their future plans. The darkness of night accentuates the sky, making for dramatic photos that reveal Namibia’s beauty in a different light.
‘Colour also plays a meaningful role in the images I captured. Large parts of the country have distinctive orange and red tones that feature heavily throughout my images. Nature has a way of revealing colour palettes that stop you in your tracks.’
Carolin Unrath (Munich, Germany)
‘It’s the light that makes Namibia such a special place to photograph’
‘For me, the outdoors is a kind of faithful presence, intense and silent. It offers me a feeling of being much more grounded to the earth and connected to nature. I use the outdoors to strike the right work/life balance – it’s a way to recharge the batteries and a source of energy and motivation.
‘People who have never been to the desert might expect something totally different – perhaps a homogenous, almost boring landscape, but in reality it’s the opposite. In the mornings, everything is peaceful, but then, as the temperatures rise, the scenery changes and there’s a sense of hostility – it feels as though the sun is literally burning. After that part of the day, the light gets more and more beautiful. Every sunset is magical and unique.
‘It’s the light that makes Namibia such a special place to photograph. Of course, the landscape is stunning and surreal, but it’s crazy to see how the light changes the environment, especially the colours. The absence of light, or the harsh, burning midday sun, can make places that much more otherworldly.’
Gwylim Pugh (London, UK)
‘In the Namib it’s like being the first man on Mars’
‘I enjoy the freedom and sense of insignificance the outdoors offers. The ability to switch off is invaluable, especially when you spend a large percentage of time living and working in the city – it’s important to break from the constant overstimulation of metropolitan life.
‘Namibia is famed for being one of the most sparsely populated places on Earth, and for having the most incredible night skies. My expectations didn’t fall short. In the Namib it’s like being the first man on Mars – looking up and seeing space come to life.
‘In recent years, my passion behind the camera has been wildlife, something that’s bountiful in Namibia. I find the unpredictability of the subject really engaging: it requires a high level of patience, making the results even more rewarding. I was particularly pleased with the shot of the wolf and the seal. It’s invigorating to capture such a raw, natural moment.’