My Getaway is Netflix and Instagram
Travis Matthews finds beauty in the surroundings and inspiration from the individuals and personalities that he captures and presents in an authentic and fresh manner. Travis is a fashion and portrait photographer born in George Town, Guyana who currently lives and creates in NYC. Travis builds a marriage between the inner shine of the person in the frame and the world of fashion in his distinctive way.
The character is discovered and brought to the outwards not shy to share the emotions, presenting a sneak peek to the personal traits. The portraits seemingly continue to live and breath after the end frame is introduced.
Travis shares with us the roots for and meaning in his works, the tips for the beginning photographers, the way to experiment with styling, and his next project shooting 100 women with hair braided in cornrows style.
Travis took part in several exhibitions like Queens of Dancehall ‘17 and worked with clients among which are VP Records, Crwn Mag, Puma, Urban Outfitters, L'officiel USA, Ivy Park, Marc Jacobs, and others.
‘I WOULD REALLY LIKE FOR MY WORK TO INSPIRE OTHERS TO GO OUT AND CREATE, FIRST FOR THEMSELVES, AND SECOND FOR A CAUSE THAT'S DEAR TO THEIR HEARTS’
Hi Travis, in what way would you want your works to affect people?
I would really like for my work to inspire others to go out and create, first for themselves, and second for a cause that's dear to their hearts... whether it’s a perception they want to change or something in the world they want to spread awareness on.
What was the hardest part for you moving at a young age to NY with your family from a personal perspective?
Missing my cousins. My cousins are like my brothers and sisters... so I would miss them and get sad. Other than that, I adapted pretty easily.
Have you visited your hometown of Guyana, South America? How would you describe the creative sphere of the country today?
Yes, I used to go back every summer through grade school. The last time I went was in December 2018. I'm not too familiar with the creative sphere out there, but there is definitely so much inspiration. I want to use my work to put us on the map. On my recent trips back, I was diligent in finding creative ways to highlight the rawness and natural beauty of the country.
‘TRIAL AND ERROR IS YOUR BEST FRIEND WHILE CREATING’
What is your getaway when you have no inspiration to recharge and get new ideas for shoots?
My getaway is Netflix and Instagram, I binge-watch a bunch of shows and just wait for the inspiration to come back to me. On Instagram, I find so many different photographers from all over the world, it brings a new perspective and inspiration.
What would be your advice to starting photographers today in terms of connections, and getting their first paid project?
My advice is to keep being motivated to grow in your craft and try to learn something new every shoot that you do. Trial and error is your best friend while creating. Find your creative method. Keep putting out quality work, and the paid projects will come your way.
What was your biggest mistake from shooting on set that you can share with us?
I honestly cannot recall an experience to share.
What is your dream collaboration?
I would love to shoot something for Nike. I love all of their campaigns, their creativity in production, and the message they emote with their visuals. Everyone understands that message 'Just Do It.'
What were the main challenges for you when you decided to become a freelance photographer several years ago, and what are those today?
I have no difficulty with freelance photography at all because I have my main job, which covers my life spendings. So I can afford to choose with whom I want to work and with whom not. I want photography to remain my stream of art. Otherwise, it can turn into routine and lose its soul if it becomes the only source of income.
Film photography had a major comeback in the past several years becoming one of the favorite tools mainly in the fashion world. Do you see its decline in the near future and development into something different?
Because of how much I love to shoot film and the hands-on manual interaction, I don’t see a decline in the near future. I believe people love the naturalness of a film image. It gives a look that you can’t replicate so it’s more authentic. Creatives are always looking to experiment, and the process of film is so unique that I believe it will stay for a while.
Could you describe the process of preparation to the photoshoot, where does the idea sparks from, is it from a location, a piece of clothes, a model or talent you meet?
My ideas spark form different inspiration I find throughout the day, maybe from one of my favorite photographers or a person that dresses cool. I take elements from each inspiration and put them together to make it my own. I also really enjoy experimenting with clothes and creating different looks that I think are cool. I can layer or keep it minimal, depending on what I’m inspired to do at the moment.
There is work with lights and shadows hitting the skin of a model to create depth or tension in the portraits you take. What is a success recipe in your opinion to create a strong portrait that can evoke emotions?
In my opinion, the success recipe is to see the composition even before you look through the viewfinder. Also, be patient and find your angle. I move myself around, or I direct the subject to rotate until I see the shot I want.
Idea and execution are the most important part of the process, however, there is always a choice which camera to use. How do you set your mind on a camera, Contax, Mamiya, Hasselblad, Polaroid and do you tend to use more than one on set?
I don’t really have to choose what camera to use because I’ll use them all. I like to shoot with different cameras because they all give me a different feel and perspective. For example, the Hasselblad gives a square format, and I’m in love with how the portraits come out, everything I see in the viewfinder will come out exactly as I saw it. With the Mamiya, I never miss focus. And with Polaroid, you can never go wrong.
I’ve completed a project where I shot over 100 women with their hair in cornrows, I plan to exhibit this body of work soon.