Here at Hahnemühle we were lucky enough to grab an interview with the talented photographer Travis Hodges. Based in the streets of London where photographic inspiration comes alive, Travis finds his muse amongst people.
Hodges is absolutely fascinated by, not just celebrities, but also ordinary people. He likes to get stuck into these projects and examine who we are as a person and what it is exactly that makes us who we are. Read more to find out about Travis Hodges’ inspirations and recommendations of Hahnemühle’s paper for prints of his contemporary photography.
I have always been attracted to image making, story telling and documenting the world around me. I began taking photography seriously when I discovered that my school had a little used darkroom. I, like many of my peers, fell in love with photography through the incredible process of hand developing prints.
How did you come to the world of portrait photography?
I find portraiture a great way to explore the world around me, shooting portraits just seemed like the natural thing to do. The camera becomes a passport into other peoples lives, hobbies and way of life. Everyone has a story to tell and it’s a privilege to be invited into their world, the great thing about photographing people is that we are all so different meaning that every shoot is unique.
Which of your projects opened the door to the professional market?
My project ‘Dead Time’ not only set my direction as a photographer but also opened many doors for me. I was lucky enough to be selected for both the Jerwood Photography prize and the Observer Hodge Awards, this exposure helped to launch my career and get my work in front of influential editors.
I’ve always had a huge amount of respect for the work of Mary Ellen Mark and Elliott Erwitt, but draw inspiration from many different areas. I don’t think that there is much point looking at other photographers for inspiration of what to photograph but its invaluable to look at how they put across their ideas. The one current photographer that I would recommend everyone looks at is Jim Mortram, he could well be this generations Chris Killip or Lewis Hine.
How would you describe your personal photographic style?
I’m interested in photographing real people and what makes each of us unique. My technical style will adapt to the project or story that I am trying to tell but, over all of it I hope that there is an honesty, respect for my subjects and a little bit of humour in my images.
What is most challenging about shooting portrait photography?
Each person is so different that each shoot has its own challenges. It is important to build a rapport with your subject, once you are collaborating on making the image you are more likely to overcome other challenges that come along.
What importance do you place on the printed presentation of your artwork?
I only ever bring prints to a portfolio meeting. We all spend far too much time staring at screens so it’s a great opportunity to go offline. Giving editors a beautiful print to look at shows my work at its best and demonstrates that I really do care about how people experience my work. I have recently switched from a portfolio with plastic sleeves to using the Hahnemühle leather album and people definitely react differently to a bare print, an added respect for the object perhaps.
I am very fond of German Etching and FineArt Pearl. There is a great texture to the German Etching paper, which compliments my style of photography. The Pearl is especially nice for prints that may be handled as the semi-gloss surface gives me deeper tones in the dark areas of the print and a more robust surface for passing around during a portfolio viewing.
Do you have a dream project you would like to realise someday?
I would like to expand my current work to look at the ways technology is impacting the lives of different communities around the world.
What’s next for you?
I am working towards a solo exhibition of my current project ‘The Quantified Self’, the series explores the world of self-tracking though people who monitor data on their bodies. I am also looking to develop the work through other stories about how technology is impacting on everyday life. When not behind the camera I lead the team that organises the monthly Photo-Forum talks (www.photo-forum.org). We hold free photography talks every month as a place for the community to come together, share ideas, inspire each other and to socialise with other working photographers.