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Renan Otzurk-North Face

Climbing has always fed artist and filmmaker Renan Ozturk's soul. But it was his travels into far-off places that created an undying passion for human connection, cross-cultural understanding, and storytelling.

Renan Ozturk


A North Face athlete, expedition climber and photographer/filmmaker for both Sony and National Geographic, Renan Ozturk spends his days telling human stories about our connection to the natural world, often in the most challenging environments – from being held at knifepoint in the deserts of Chad, to suffering through hallucinations while climbing mountains in the Himalayas, and living on a sheer wall for 12 days in -29 °C temperatures.

Renan began his career as an expedition climber and landscape artist, choosing to sacrifice home comforts for a tent in national parks across the USA and in the remote Himalayan Mountains. Renan’s art is created on expedition, right in front of the mountains he paints . He was named National Geographic Adventurer of the Year in 2013 for his combination of cutting-edge first ascents and visual storytelling. From landscape art, Renan branched out into timelapse film, a move which eventually led him down the creative path of filmmaking.

-Renan's Projects-

The films he’s made over the years have had a global presence. Meru won the Audience Choice Award at Sundance, while Sherpa premiered at the Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.

“Last Honey Hunter”

He’s documented stories of culture loss for National Geographic Magazine as part of the “Last Honey Hunter” assignment (which also yielded an award-winning short film). He’s constantly searching for stories that move him – films with a strong visual identity and deeply human moments, whether it be extreme athletes or a child discovering a part of the planet for the first time.

In the steep mountain jungles of Nepal’s Hongu river valley, members of the isolated Kulung culture have risked their lives for generations scaling dangerous cliffs to collect a wild and toxic honey. Deep and dark, the film glides through a misty world of forest spirits, dreams, and woodsmoke to share the story of the leader of the harvest and his final journey.

Principle Cinematography by Ben Knight and Renan Ozturk / Produced by Ben Ayers, Renan Ozturk and Travis Rummel / Aerial — Renan Ozturk

Renan Ozturk and Mark Synnott travel to Nepal with National Geographic to experience the "Last Traditional Honey Harvest". Watch exclusive, behind the scenes footage of the harvest here


Before Renan was a filmmaker, he spent his days doing landscape painting while climbing. Renan spent years living in a tent beneath the desert walls of Utah and the snowy Himalayan mountains, carrying large swaths of raw cotton canvas on his back to the places he cut his teeth as a professional climber. He uses mixed media, found materials, oil pastels, watercolors, acrylics, ink pens and even natural pigments pulled straight from the earth to capture these wildly beautiful landscapes. All of his paintings were created on expedition, right in the dirt beneath towering mountains, securing the canvases and stitched papers to the ground with heavy stones. These paintings are impressionistic, vividly colorful, and acutely contoured with details that mirror the jagged ridges and dramatic skis that Renan experienced while pushing the bleeding edge of alpinism and art. His canvases are worn, folded, and wrinkled with the dirt of the mountains. Each of these large canvases and papers he carried on his back rolled up into his pack, sometimes for over 100 miles, to the base of his climbs. The cracked paint, dried from the sweeping alpine winds, is an imprint of the weathering forces of nature that Renan endured on these expeditions. The paintings are a literal embodiment of the adventure itself.


"Svalbard was a chance to see one of the most northern, remote islands on Earth as part of a circumnavigation on a small motor vessel as part of a workshop with Natural World Safaris." "I kicked off my career as an expedition climber and landscape artist, dedicating years of my life to living in a tent, whether it was beneath the towering walls of U.S. National Parks or in the frozen expanses of the Himalayas. Every painting I've ever made was born on an expedition."

Svalbard 2019 - Images of Renan and Ryan Valasek

"As an opportunity to teach and learn as well as shoot our own photo assignments in one of the most remote and hostile environments on earth, it was pretty incredible to gain such an appreciation of that landscape and its fragility as ice calved off glaciers in front of our eyes.

Encountering polar bears that are searching for sea ice and arctic foxes furrowing for food - we hope some of our images do some justice to that constant battle between the beauty and the harshness of these surroundings that are changing so fast with the climate."