For seven years a dedicated photographer has told the stories of "Travelers" through his compelling portraits.
What initially gave you the idea to follow Travelers, not just for photos, but for their stories as well?
This project evolved organically while I was working on a different project in 2011. Feeling a lack of human connection and not wanting to be stuck in a studio, I decided to start making street portraits. While in Las Vegas, I hopped out of a cab after spotting a unique looking man on the side of the road. We made a portrait together, and I didn’t think much of getting his information or story at the time. I returned home and started working through the images I made. His portrait really grabbed my attention. Seemingly lost forever, I started running into people who knew who he was in different cities throughout the United States.
Three years later, while riding the “L” in Chicago, I was forced to get off due to construction on the track and there he was, sitting with a friend outside of the station. I reintroduced myself, we hugged and I was finally able to reconnect. Three months later I ran into him in NYC. At that point, he introduced me to many Travelers and I began to learn their personal stories. Further down the line I was able to meet his family and have dinner with them.
What I love most about photographing Travelers, is that their stories are woven into the clothing they make and told through the tattoos that they give to one another. As I say, their appearance is the visual storybook of their lives. For example, a tattoo of a specific symbol might represent a deceased Traveler. Travelers will mix ink with their friend’s ashes and through stick and poke, give each other tattoos in his or her memory. Other tattoos represent a “crew” or group and binds them together. Lastly, as Margaret J. Wheatley said, ‘You can’t hate anyone’s story you know.’
Advertisement What initially gave you the idea to follow Travelers, not just for photos, but for their stories as well? This project evolved organically while I was working on a different project in 2011. Feeling […]