Arts News: Adventurer Shares His Stories at Kauffman Center

From the rainforests of Peru to the Serengeti in Africa to Yellowstone National Park, wildlife documentarian Charlie Hamilton James feels right at home in nature.

James’ love of the great outdoors and photography have taken him on many adventures while working for “National Geographic Magazine,” specializing in issues concerning conservation, natural history and anthropology.

On Feb. 7, James is coming to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts to share his work, taking viewers on a visual journey of a lifetime as part of the “National Geographic Live” series.

James, who is currently working in a remote village in Kenya, plans to tell stories from his recent assignments photographing vultures in Africa and exploring at Yellowstone. But perhaps most unusually, he will talk about the time he bought an Amazon rainforest. Yes, that’s correct.

In 2013, James purchased 100 acres of land adjacent to Peru’s Manú National Park with the intention of protecting the land from illegal loggers. In reality, he had bought an illegal cocaine plantation.

His unbelievable experiences dealing with the complex situation he got himself into and coming to terms with his hopes, dreams and failures were documented on the BBC show “I Bought a Rainforest” and will be shared here in Kansas City.

Kauffman Center President and CEO Paul Schofer said the audience should expect to be taken on a photographic journey during James’ presentation.

“Anyone who is curious about the planet and the world we live in would enjoy this event and series,” Schofer said. “There is truly something for everyone.”

James will be kicking off the Kauffman Center’s sixth season of “National Geographic Live,” a series dedicated to delivering engaging stories from explorers.

The 2017 season will feature five speakers who have worked for National Geographic around the world.

Schofer said the series, which allows for speakers to present stories and features that are critical to our world today, complements the Kauffman Center’s commitment to providing extraordinary and diverse performing arts experiences for all.

“It’s important for us to share a wide variety of speakers who share insight into the wildlife, diverse human cultures, science and history of our world,” Schofer said.

More information about the “National Geographic Live” series can be found at

Upcoming “National Geographic Live” events:

Feb. 7: “I Bought a Rainforest” with photographer Charlie Hamilton James
March 7: “Point of No Return” with mountaineer Hilaree O’Neill
April 4: “Beauty and the Bizarre” with photographer Anand Varma
May 16: “A Photographer’s Life of Love and War” with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario
June 6: “In Search of River Giants” with aquatic ecologist and Nat Geo WILD star Zeb Hogan

Above:  Photographer Charlie Hamilton James will share his outdoor adventures Feb. 7 as part of the “National Geographic Live” series at the Kauffman Center. (Image from Charlie Hamilton James)

About The Author: Alexia Lang

Alexia Lang

Alexia Lang is a multimedia journalist who has worked in newspapers, magazines, radio and blogs. She holds a journalism degree from UMKC and her Master’s work is in Leadership.


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