@deedeesvintage Travis Hodges

An Interview With Travis Hodges

July 19, 2012

London-based photographer Travis Hodges has created an ongoing project entitled ‘Follow Me’ as the name suggests it is linked to Twitter, unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past couple of years I’m sure you all know what that is.

Each photograph is a portrait of the Twitter user, by looking at their online persona and portraying this within the image. Once a subject has been captured they will then choose the next from their own followers on Twitter to be photographed by Hodges. Hence the name ‘Follow Me’, its a bit like a game of tag.

Such an interesting concept for photography and for Twitter, I got the chance to ask Hodges about the project and about being included in the Royal Photographic Society Print Exhibition 2012.

How did you come up with the concept for “Follow Me”?

I resisted joining Twitter for a long time, I didn’t want it to become another faceless social media account. I promised myself that I would join only if I made something creative of the process and actually met some of the people I communicated with.

Each picture encompasses the Tweeters online persona, how do you decide what the best setting for each picture? Do you get to know them over coffee first?

Giving a clue to the persons online persona is the starting point to each image, I have a look at what they are talking about on Twitter and usually meet before the shoot to talk about ideas and get to know the person. For some, a conceptual idea jumps out and for others I create the image around their personal space.

The picture of @deedeesvintage has been chosen to appear in the 155th International Print Exhibition, you must be pretty happy with that? (Over 3,000 prints were submitted by nearly 800 photographers worldwide, pictured top)

Yes, that image has had a lot of attention and I am very happy with how it has been received.

Do you have a favourite picture from the set yet?

I am particularly pleased with the shot of @samo72 (pictured below) but I am already developing the idea for my next subject and am very excited about that.

You have won various awards over your career, which one stands out the most for you?

I feel lucky to be earning a living doing what I love so any recognition for that work is a fantastic extra. The Jerwood Award came right after I graduated so it gave me a lot of confidence that I was going in the right direction.

Who would be your Ultimate Tweeter you would like to photograph?

People I admire like @stephenfry and @kevinSpacey would already be on my list before Twitter. So maybe the people behind unusual twitter accounts, who tweets pretending to be a Trafalgar square pigeon? @feral_pigeon, or pretending to be the queen? @Queen_UK

I am always interested to find out the background and how people got started. Was photography always your passion and how did you get involved in the industry?

I have always had an interest in photography and was hooked when I learnt to hand print. I studied photography at Falmouth University and moved to London after graduation.
My camera lets me go beyond the usual viewpoint of things that interest me, behind the curtain of something or someone. People are fascinating and it is a privilege to meet and photograph people living completely different lives to me, I aim to celebrate what makes an individual special, everyone has something extraordinary about them.

And finally, what do you think of my profile picture? Up to scratch? (@p__ho)

It’s a good shot, nice colours and the wall gives a strong diagonal. It’s also nice to see a real portrait so online friends can recognise you in real life!

Phew! I think my profile picture passed the test! To see more of Travis’s inspiring work from the project, like the one below, head over to his website TravisHodges.co.uk and follow him on Twitter @TravisHodgesUK

The 155th International Print Exhibition 2012 organised by the Royal Photographic Society runs from 19th July to the 9th September at the Allen & Overy offices in Bishops Square, London E1 6AD.

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