selected works by Jason Travis
Asymmetric Magazine: Tell us about your most recent transpLAnts series. What sparked the idea?
Jason Travis: In early 2016, I moved from Atlanta to Los Angeles. It was the first time in my 35 years that I'd lived outside of Georgia. I wanted to create a photo series focusing on people I meet—people who have also moved to Los Angeles to start a new chapter of their lives. I wanted to hear about their journey and experiences. I wanted to learn how living in different places has shaped their existence.
AM: Are those photographed people you personally know/knew prior to this series, strangers or a combination of both? How did you meet them?
JT: These are all people I’ve met in Los Angeles through various encounters. Some people I’ve met through acquaintances, others through a job, and in a few cases, some of them are my neighbors. Towards the beginning of my time here I was especially curious to learn where other people have lived—a bit of comparison and contrast with my own life. It was always less about justification and more about hearing stories.
AM: How did you choose the location for each portrait?
JT: The locations are usually determined by proximity. Mostly on the street, but sometimes at a person’s home or business. Location and light definitely come into play. Originally, I wanted the images to be very simple in structure. A full-body portrait wherever we happen to be—something relatively quick to execute and replicate with the following individual. However, that always lends way to experimentation and wanting more interesting shots. The early ones are more straightforward, but I think as its progressed I’ve started looking for more unique corners of this big city.
I wanted to create a photo series focusing on people I meet—people who have also moved to Los Angeles to start a new chapter of their lives. I wanted to hear about their journey and experiences. I wanted to learn how living in different places has shaped their existence.
AM: What similarities and/or differences did you discover amongst everyone's stories and what lead them to LA?
JT: I do see a bit of everything, and I believe, as with myself, moving somewhere becomes about more reasons than just one, regardless of what you might tell yourself. People that may move solely for work are also moving into a different environment, with different surroundings, weather, attitudes, friends, and circumstances. That’s a big deal. I’ve encountered people that have moved for possibilities, to make a big change, to get a new perspective. I’ve talked to people that have moved to be closer to family, people that want to start fresh, people that are attending school, and also people that seek different opportunities altogether. Everyone’s story is a bit different, and I love that.
AM: Did you meet anyone whose journey particularly resonated with you based on your own experience moving from Atlanta?
JT: I’ve developed a lot of feelings based on my own personal experiences, but talking with people about this subject has definitely given me perspective. Most people have lived in multiple places, while I spent my entire live in Georgia prior to this move. I’ve enjoyed talking to people that moved frequently when they were younger versus making the choice on their own as adults. I’ve seen a lot of growth in myself, which is something I might not have experienced otherwise. Hearing about others that have moved for loved ones or with loved ones is fascinating to me. That’s a huge transition to go through with someone. It takes time to adjust. It takes patience. There's a lot of different scenarios. I think everyone's story has resonated with me on a whole, but I do love hearing especially from people that have moved from the east to west coast. I think there’s a deeper sense of understanding there.
Everyone’s story is a bit different, and I love that.
AM: What music have you been jamming to lately?
JT: I’m always listening to my favorites from the ‘90s: Dinosaur Jr, The Breeders, Pavement. I’ve been listening to the new Juliana Hatfield album, Pussycat. Looking forward to The War on Drugs’ new record.
AM: What can we expect to see from you next?
JT: I’m excited to celebrate 10 years of my ongoing Persona series. November marks a decade and more than 500 entries in that series. I’m currently planning something special for that occasion. I’m also working on couple music videos, including one for an unreleased Sealions track.