Caught Unawares

NYC-Photographer Steps Boldly On To The Bus To Catch Late-Night Commuters Off-Guard

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Imagine the following scenario: it’s late at night, and you’re on your way home from a long day at work. Or maybe you’re just heading out. Regardless of your intentions and motivations, suddenly there’s a camera in your face. Maybe this is all too commonplace a scenario, but peering at Travis Huggett’s latest photography series, ‘last night at the bus stop’, allows us impressions of those tiresome moments on the late-night commute where travellers would rather zone-out than focus in.

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Shot in the Lower East Side/East Village neighbourhood of Manhattan (NYC), where the photographer also lives, and entirely with a Canon 5d MII, Travis often catches the commuters unawares as they’re transported deeper into their transition between places. Sometimes, however, the commuters strike back, either with the bright glare of their own camera or, at other times, with that of their own penetrating stares. This is the feature that most readily distinguishes the photos from each other: the differences of the people who share the road leading somewhere unknown to us as viewers. “Each photo tells a story,” Travis tells us. “You can come up with a story for each person, which I often do.”

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We had a chat with Travis to find out more:

The Plus: Tell us about the series.
Travis Huggett:
I started shooting these in late 2013. It’s continuing, though I go out less now than I did early on. I’ll probably continue until I feel like I’ve really exhausted the possibilities. I don’t want it to get too redundant, which it could, given the similarities of the shots.

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TP: What was the best aspect of this shoot?
TH:
I shoot It’s where I live, so it’s easy for me to go out even after a busy day. I also like the idea that someday it will be a portrait of a neighbourhood at this time.

TP: What difficulties did you encounter in shooting for this series?
TH:
I haven’t faced too many difficulties. I worry about being too invasive. It is of course a very public space, but I do try to be respectful. So far I have encountered very little negativity from people and I’m grateful for that.

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TP: Who or what are your artistic influences?
TH:
There are a lot of photographers who have influenced me. I didn’t have any in mind when I started, or as I shoot, but Bruce Davidson’s subway photos from the 70′s amaze me every single time I see them, and I’ve seen them a lot.

TP: What are projects are coming up for you?
TH:
I’m hoping to turn this series in to book, and then I’ll try to think of something else to shoot!

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