Interview With Travis Burns Street Photographer
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: Yes, I don’t mind talking about photos & photography.. It is a time consuming part of my life, but certainly one that pleases me.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: It is a recording & self expression of human view points using light & technical skills, automatic or manual.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: When I was confronted with September 11th, 2001. I was 25 years old, I needed a job.. I knew that the Military had a job for me, so I enlisted & became a US Navy, Combat Cameraman for 4 years.. Since then I have done things in the photo world, but only for myself.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: No.. but I have a lot of different photos that I love & I’m happy that I took them & nobody else did.. haha!
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: Basic Still frame Black & White photo in College. Then Combat CameraOperation at the Defense Information School in Maryland & 4 years of worldwide photography in many countries in Asia & the Middle East.
Tried to go back to college after the military for photography went for 3 months hated the curriculum & the teachers & dropped out to do photography at my own whim & on my own terms..
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: Not technical at all .. I look for good lighting. If I’m happy with what I see, then I take the photo. It’s pretty simple.. I do like using different cameras.. but since the jump to digital it has been a lot easier.. As long as the viewer is happy then I’m happy.. I’m always looking for cool photos, great shots & things that will be pleasing to the eyes!!
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: I always try to crop with the view finder.. but once the photo is taken, then that’s how it is.. unless the photo is being shown or produced for anything in particular.. at that point bustin’ out photoshop & cropping it to my liking is quite ok..
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: Tokyo.. It is simply amazing there.. the lights.. the people.. the trains.. the graffiti.. everything about the place is pure magic & I loved taking major amounts of photos there..
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: Beauty is truly in the eye of the Beholder.. no doubt about it!!
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: I Can’t shoot that & I Don’t take my photo, are lame & meaning less!! I always enjoy, Hey take a photo of me!! & Hey look hat guy is taking our photo!!
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I become silent, poised & professional.. most of the time..
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: Damn it!!
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: Nah.. just correct technique to execute a shoot..
Q: Who are your influences?
A: Even though he wasn’t a photographer Salvador Dali. His artistic eyefor surrealism had played a major role in my approach to life & photography..
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: I really enjoy the steam punk style of portrait photography done on the east coast.. It’s really cool & it quite amazing..
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: Sometimes I just get up.. grab my camera & I’m like.. ok I’m gonna shoot some photos today.. & by the end of the day I have at least 100 photos.. there have been times where I have comeback with over 1,000 photos, of everything under the sun.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: Getting other people interested in photos as much as you are..
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: A lack of money to buy more gear..
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Women, art, places, travel.. strange things..
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: Hmm, well when I was enlisted in the Navy, I had to go to Indonesia, because of the tsunami of December 2004.. It was insane!! I seen a side of the world which I couldn’t exactly imagine.. the effects from a force of nature which no man can comprehend.. leaving thousands dead in it wake & leaving just as many to starve, be homeless & be orphans.. truly a sad thing to deal with, but taking the photos which I did were an adventure, my duty as a Naval photographer & a certain highlight in my own personal career.
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: No I will shoot photos till the day I die.. It is my own personal lot in life to express myself visually.. I will never stop as long as I can see & hold a camera in my hand..
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: I just go shoot photos of thing most people wouldn’t..
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Bands, Dj’s, artists’, models, musicians.. skateboarders..
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: B & W is a real raw style.. I enjoy it greatly.. especially traditional B & W.. There is nothing better than a really detailed B & W image.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: I am certainly an artist.. not the best.. certainly not the worst.. but an artist just the same.. to me an artist is somebody who expresses them selves to prove a point of self being.. anything can potential be an art.. race car driving.. finger painting.. hot balloon air riding.. model photography.. electric guitar.. $ex.. can all be an art form in one way or another..
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Very lose, fluid, fun.. easy to do..
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: When I was in Thailand I shoot a photo of a guy kissing the head of a king cobra.. when I went back to Japan, someone had seen that photo, realized that I was the guy who shoot that photo & was like OMG!! that was your photo!! It was amazing!! I was like OMG!! you saw that photo!! hahaha!! I was just funny to me..
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: I sure people know this, but I am from Colorado.. But I hate cold weather & I hate snow!! I hate it soooo much!! A lot of my friends ski & snowboard but I refuse!! I like motorcycles instead!!
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: I just want to travel more than I already have.. I haven’t been to Europe yet & that is where I want to go most of all..
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: Stayed in school I guess.. but then I think, screw that.. do what you want.. I might not be rich & famous but people look at my photos on a daily basis online & I know that those are my photos & It makes me happy to know they are being used for the purpose of why I shot them.. for inspiration, entertainment & the freedom of the art of photography.. so my advice would be do what you feel is best in your heart.. let your photography flow!!
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: They suck!! they kill real photography.. what they do is an art to some degree.. but if harassing some dumb ass movie star, while he & his girlfriend are sun bathing on the beach or in their back yard, it simply proves that they suck..
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: I think digital manipulation is awesome.. It fuels advertising in many ways.. utilizing photoshop is an art unto itself.. but there should always be a standard of untouched photography & digitally manipulated photography.. & if you are a photo journalist & you get caught doing something unethical.. you should pay the consequences for fakin’ the funk!!
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: Have fun!!
Connect with Travis via his MySpace profile.