The first thing you should know about Camp4 Collective is that they like their mythology.
Back in 2015, before a time when Orwellian terms like “fake news” would come to dominate the landscape and everyone seems to be engaged in some kind of push back against false assumptions and misinformation, the Salt Lake City-based Camp4 Collective embraced their “origin story” myth-making with a beautifully-produced short video that was less of a demo reel and more of a trailer for an epic adventure. Which fit the three founders—Tim Kemple, Anson Fogel, and Renan Ozturk—perfectly.
When asked to describe what they do in their own terms, Fogel emphasizes two key factors: that their production teams are engaging in “visual storytelling in wild places” and that they proceed with “a strong focus on the relationship between character and place.” This forms a powerful through-line in their work, which they have produced for the likes of North Face, Sherpa, Under the Arctic Sky, and Meru. It’s also why Getty Images, which values storytelling above all else in its content providers, sought out Camp4 Collective to bring fresh and genuinely powerful exclusive video into its fold-- best exemplified by a selection of videos such as “Everest,” “Hula,” “Cascada,” and “Alta,” in which their creative team prove their dedication to going above and beyond anything you’ve seen before.
Because one of the misconceptions Fogel and Camp4 Collective struggle against is the notion that the “adventure video” space is owned by stunt-obsessed adrenaline junkies, content to strap GoPros on their helmets before jumping off cliffs. Instead, Camp4 Collective is dedicated to using state-of-the-art equipment and techniques to deliver something deeper and more complex—more “awe-inspiring” than “awesome!” if you will. For example, for ‘Everest,” they worked with Eurocopter to modify one of their aircraft to carry a Shotover Camera system capable of capturing Hollywood-quality 4K images from 25,000 feet.
So as much as Camp4 Collective will always love a good tale (even if it’s a little on the tall side), they’re also interested in cutting through the haze of romanticism to really show the heart of what they’re all about.
“As with any central value, one has to be disciplined and forever vigilant in living and working under that value system,” explains Fogel. “We keep each other in check - and we are clear with our clients that we do not, and will not, fake it. Honesty becomes a constant self check - are we being honest about this one shot? This interview? This edit? This feeling? If not, we don't do it. Simple as that.”
While far from “simple,” what Camp4 Collective does, and why they have proven to be an ideal content partner for Getty, is bring nuance to a space where it is often sorely lacking. “Despite our fear of sounding cliche, we hope to build empathy and connections between different cultures and places,” says Fogel. “To create wonder, and even curiosity about these incredible landscapes and the people that inhabit and are formed by them.”
It’s also more about story than stunt. For the “Hula” videos, Fogel and his team traveled to Nunavut, an island off the northern coast of Canada near the Arctic Circle, to capture a “water artist” who wanted to create a painting on ice as a symbol for climate change. The team battled harsh weather and sparse resources, but believed in the truth of what they were pursuing. Authenticity, it turns out, isn’t just a buzzword.
“It’s a cultivated way of working, that requires effort and an ongoing personal and professional evolution,” says Fogel. “There is not one ‘truth’ - there is only truth as we perceive it at the time. It is more about being honest with one’s perspective than about some underlying set of facts. It is about being true to the subject, in terms of omission and addition.”
Fogel references the old maxim “a tourist finds what he wants to find, the explorer finds what is there” to explain Camp4 Collectives’ collective mentality, before adding “we never find what we expect.” This was true of their work in Nepal, which turned out to be more indicative of the Camp4 Collective way than any of its members anticipated.
“We filmed extensively in Nepal before and after the earthquake there and in the process, we made and lost friends, found ways to help, and felt helpless. Filming and working among the people of Nepal has been a longer-term relationship than some of our other projects, and that has meant a deeper relationship between all of us and the people and landscapes there,” he says. “Nepal has delivered us not a single project, but an ongoing, ever changing, story - we have found new stories on a visit that we have then returned to explore more deeply.”
At the end of the day (assuming the sun even goes down in whatever part of the world they happen to find themselves in this week), Fogel and the rest of Camp4 Collective love a story, will tease an internal mythology, and will even give in to a little Hollywood flair—but eventually, they will always come back to one thing, and it’s the one thing that Getty Images hopes will inspire others seeking new and innovative content.
“Great human stories, simple as that. There are profound stories out there, and the adventure space provides an avenue to finding stories that typical media cannot.”
See all of the Camp4 Collective work currently available right now on Getty Images
Also check out the "Thrill-Seeking Images that Inspire" collection, presented by Getty Images