I began corresponding with Travis through the Push It A Stop Flickr page after noticing his extensive use of film- most notably shooting some riding shots on large format. He let me know that he’d be at Texas Toast with his 4×5. Sure enough I saw him there lugging around the behemoth of a camera, complete with tripod and dark cloth, and a Hasselblad slung around his neck. We spoke and it soon became clear to me that Travis is both a camera fanatic and dedicated film user. He is informed, experienced and well-traveled. Sitting down and discussing all aspects of photography with Travis opened my eyes to some things I hadn’t considered regarding technology and the lack thereof required in the art. He is someone who understands the power of the camera and loves every part of it- from the equipment to the process to the ethereal qualities of a Polaroid of his daughter. I introduce to you the Ansel Adams of BMX, Travis Mortz.
0:30 – How was shooting at Texas Toast with a 4×5 camera?
2:25 – Travis’ shortened life story and first rolls of film
5:18 – When has film failed you?
6:32 – When has digital failed you? (pretty crazy story involving Tony Hawk)
9:50 – Travis’ formal education in photography and the arts
11:58 – Favorite photographs?
12:42 – Crazy story about Dorthea Lange and a Linhof
16:06 – Online portfolio?
17:05 – Your favorite film?
17:45 – Your lighting setup?
19:19 – Travis asks me about my film-use frequency
22:03 – Travis describes his darkroom setup in the mountains
25:04 – What are your film buying habits?
27:02 – “People are scared of film for some reason”
27:28 – You ever been fucked by a lab?
28:56 – Recent camera purchases?
31:59 – “My results will always be different”
32:39 – Favorite developer?
34:02 – Travis’ theory on preservation
35:20 – REMEMBER TO START UP YOUR EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR
(A great discussion erupts here and some really good points are made.)
40:02 – We go through the gear that Travis brought with him
48:54 – Shooting at Woodward Camp
51:30 – Travis talks about his recent trip to Sweden and how Hasselblad wrote a story about him
54:06 – “My biggest project is documenting my daughter’s life”
Posted in Art, BMX, Gear, Interview, Photo, Podcast, Tech
Tagged Film, Graflex, Hasselblad, Linhof, Travis Mortz
Kevin does a lot of the legwork for Fiend as well as shooting most of their photos. I had only met him a couple times before conducting this interview and I had no idea that he was so experienced and informed. Needless to say, a lot of important topics are touched and Kevin brought an insightful twist to everything mentioned. He talks about what it’s like to shoot with riders like Garrett Reynolds and what dealing with energy drink companies entails. As a veteran of the industry we commiserate over the decline of print but as active lensmen we discuss the best ways of dealing with this universal shift from paper to pixels. We discuss how (or if) someone could live off of shooting BMX photos alone. Thanks to him, a lot of us may be much more inclined to post our photos directly to Instagram… maybe.
The SoundCloud player is embedded below. Click here to listen on iTunes.
0:24 – Introduction and Kevin’s backstory
12:20 – The formation of Fiend in San Diego
15:28 – Thoughts on San Diego (vs. Los Angeles)
16:42 – Day-to-day operations, website, shooting a roll per week
20:04 – Video work / shooting weddings
20:48 – Valuing both photo and video
22:01 – Putting a price on photographs
23:20 – Thrasher Magazine’s segue into web
26:27 – “Why is everybody doing the same thing?”
27:36 – Can we survive as BMX photographers?
30:08 – “You can’t just do one thing as a photographer anymore”
32:52 – We check out Kevin’s backpack
41:39 – Full-frame vs. crop sensor
44:12 – Ty is outed as an exceptional photographer
45:53 – What film do you load up in your Bronica? (and the pains of shooting film)
48:24 – Shouts to skate photogs Ben Clemens and Brian Gaberman
50:30 – Sleeping in the field
51:52 – When riders pull it first try
53:20 – Two strobes is all you need
55:05 – Old school strobe sequences
57:04 – Shooting a bar crank bar and making sure Red Bull includes both barspins
1:00:01 – Having to shoot vs. wanting to shoot
1:01:26 – Kevin’s digital workflow
1:04:52 – Shouts to Josh McElwee
1:05:16 – “Whatever you take, you better be willing to put back into it”
1:07:12 – You can’t put extra pressure on the rider
1:07:38 – Shooting barspins
1:09:49 – Weekends
1:11:30 – Kevin confesses to having applied to be a Lyft driver
1:12:49 – The longevity of a photograph and Instagram
1:15:30 – Separating between inspiration and imitation
1:16:03 – Instagram is about convenience
1:19:48 – Shouts to Alex Donnachie and Fred Murray
1:20:59 – “What’s the oldest photo you’re sitting on?”
Reed Stark came out to California with three days worth of clothes and a bloodlust for chunks of steel. Navigating and executing by day, moving under veil of tree-cast shadows by night, searching hours just for a safe floor to sleep on. All it took was one wrong step and Reed’s quest was forestalled until next season. With ice on foot and spoils in hand, Reed hitchhiked back to the Midwest to devise his next excursion into the jungle.
Coordinated by BSD. Thumbnail photo by Tristan Afre.
For the sixth installment of #TUESDAYSATTIP we brought Craig Passero and Marv Morales around to sprinkle the ramps with some Long Island seasoning. The heat was high but we found some shade and spent the whole afternoon having a great time riding the ramps and soon the next crew will do the same.
BMX Day was celebrated all around the world this weekend and in Chicago shit was goin’ off. Due to airline chicanery I almost didn’t make it but I’m so glad I did. Dan Lacey was the ringleader of the event and Brian Kachinsky showed us around the shoreline of the Windy City for a few hours before the rain put things on hold. Austin Aughinbaugh ended up with the Street Series ring but it was a tough call with Dan Kruk, Joe Jarvis, Dylan McCauley and Carlo Hoffmann hot at his heels. Derek Strong has a standout clip on the kinker while Mike Stahl put in some work on a clip that I’m sure he’s since gone back to get. Jeff Dowhen almost killed a man with his bike. Grant Castelluzzo was there stealing my angles and Mike Hinkens was looking dapper as always. Someone’s forks snapped at the end and the whole day was pretty crazy. I got wrapped up in the moment quite a bit and I’m pretty loud throughout this entire edit and lucky for all of us I recorded the whole day… I could only edit down to 41 minutes but I think with this amount of footage you’ll get a pretty good understanding as to what a completely awesome day on a BMX bike with a ton of great people in the Midwest is really all about.
Our entire day was dedicated to the life and memory of Glenn Salyers who undoubtedly would have destroyed every spot we went to.
Tempe-based photographer Spenser Lee (or Loofa as he’s sometimes known) just updated his portfolio website with not only some amazing riding photos but also some really clean architectural/interior shots. Click around, get psyched.
Stop Talk regular Jeremy Pavia reached out to let us know his long-awaited and much improved portfolio website is up and running. Take a few minutes to click around and you’ll most likely find some motivation to do creative and positive things.