This month we chat to adventurer, sports fanatic, photographer and author of the DontTellMom.co.za blog, Brandon Hinton – or the Ginger Brand Man as he calls himself. An explorer at heart with a true love for Africa, we find out more about the man who is currently shooting photos for some of SA’s coolest brands. Read more about his blog, travels, fashion and how he keeps things real.
I cannot start my day without…
Coffee. Coffee is life. Whilst scrolling through Instagram of course.
What made you decide to start a blog?
Truthfully, in the beginning I only did it all because it’s what the cool kids were doing. At that stage of my life I was a sport scientist and had a sports blog called, “Trainer Hinton”. It saw some success, finishing runner up in the sports category of the 2017 South African blogger awards, but it truthfully never felt real to whom I was. That’s when I decided to shut it down. It took a couple months and a few major life changes until I ended up in the photography industry. It was only then when I felt the urge to not only have somewhere to produce content but to create a platform that was a public oath to pull the curtain on all the hidden gems laying on our doorstep in this beautiful country of ours all whilst remaining relatable to the millennial South African.
Was it difficult to get it up and running?
With Don’t Tell Mom, I’ve never stressed over the success of it nor have I ever wanted it to feel like work and so the growth of it has always intended to have been an organic one, and heck, whatever comes of that, well then great. So because of that, no – beyond the odd technical hiccup it’s never been a difficult task.
DontTellMom.co.za is very different from anything else out there. Would you say it’s a reflection of you?
Yeah, I would. Being a photographer, most of my work style is determined by the client. So Don’t Tell Mom became home to the content that I passionately wanted to create and see it as nothing but an extension of whom I am, keeping it as personal and conversational as possible.
What marketing channels do you use to attract visitors to your blog?
Nothing more than my personal Instagram account, @brandonhinton.jpeg. Again, I’ve never wanted to see it as work and I feel stressing over an entire marketing campaign would destroy the core of what Don’ Tell Mom is to me.
How would you describe your own fashion/style?
That’s a toughie. As inspired as I am by current industry trends, it’s the late 70’s classics that I find hoarding my closet. The bespoke, one-of-a-kind, timeless pieces that have become lost in the fast-fashion times are what really get me excited. Basically it’s just a whole lotta denim ‘n leather.
What advice do you have for aspiring bloggers?
Just shut up and do it. If it’s even a thought in your head, it’s worth pursuing. Just don’t tell the world about it… yet. I learnt that the hard way. Doing so sets you up for so much criticism and self-doubt and until you find your style (which takes some time), it’s not worth opening yourself up to the peanut gallery. Once there, then shoot, scream and shout all you like.
You mentioned you travel a lot with the work you do. Where is home?
Jo’burg… For now.
When I’m not working I’m…
Most likely hiding in a coffee shop planning a new trip or out riding my motorcycle thinking about a new trip.
Most interesting place ever traveled to?
Rwanda. Definitely. To be honest, it was never on the list other than the 48 hour notice I received from my client, but touching down in Kigali was a life changing moment for me. Beyond the people, the jaw dropping beauty and in-your-face history, it was seeing how fast the Chinese are taking this all away that really got to me and inspired me to do a whole lot more of this before it’s too late.
Visit Brandon’s blog at www.DontTellMom.co.za or his website www.brandonhinton.com