feature: Making a fool of yourself, connecting with others, and the inherent risk of filmmaking with Travis Barron

With a keen eye and warm soul, Oregon based photographer & director Travis Barron is quite the powerhouse. We got to chat with him about how he got to where he is today, his favorite projects, his advice for fellow artists, and a heck ton more. Check out the full interview after the jump!

Tell us about who you are and what you do.
I'm a director & photographer based in Portland, Oregon. I run a small studio called Unlimited Time Only where I make work with a rotating crew of collaborators and friends.

When did you start getting into video work/photography?
My first taste of filmmaking came in 2014. I quit my design job to walk from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail with my friend Eric Timmerman. Over a thousand people from around the world attempt the journey each year, so before the trip we decided that we wanted to film the hike and interview different people along the way. After 6 months, 100 interviews, and 2660 miles we returned with about 50 hours of footage to edit. It was a stupid amount of work but I loved every second of the process. Sculpting a mountain of raw material into a meaningful story just clicked and made sense to me more than anything else ever had. After another six months of editing we released “Do More With Less”, a full-length documentary about the PCT community. Although I’ve since grown as a cinematographer and storyteller, I’m still proud of how that piece turned out.

What's your favorite part about being creative?
Creativity allows me to connect with the world in unconventional ways. To excel as a photographer/filmmaker you have to constantly put yourself out there, work closely with others, and make a fool of yourself. I'm naturally shy so doing this is always uncomfortable, but it has pushed me off the high dive of life into the deep end of thrilling experiences.

What's one of your favorite projects you've done?
See question #2. JK, but for real I’m super proud of it. Share it with your friends and family. Hmm what else? I got to direct two music videos for the band "Wet Dream" last year which was a blast. I’ve also been shooting a good deal of analog photography recently which has had a profound effect on my approach to image making.

Who/what are some of your biggest inspirations?
Spike Jonze has been my favorite director for a long time. I read an interview years ago where he said something along the lines of “I don’t want to make a film if success is certain. There has to be a chance that it won’t work.” Something about that really rings true to me. Filmmaking is inherently risky, and I love the idea of embracing that.

What's some advice you'd give to fellow artists?
Invest time into engaging with a community of other artists. Find people around you that also want to make cool shit and make cool shit with them. It's something I didn't do until I moved to Portland in 2015. Once I started connecting with people who's work I admired I was able to embark on collaborations and conversations that have changed my life. A good example of this is an ongoing photo series called "The Human Quilt" where I take portraits of artists with their work projected onto them. It's been a fun exercise in artistic networking, and I've made some lifelong friends in the process.

How is your personality reflected in your work?
My personality is a cocktail of earnestness and irreverence. I give every project my all; at the same time I don’t take anything very seriously. I’m not sure if this is reflected in my work. Maybe if you have a background in psychology you’ll see the connection.

Music you've been listening to lately?
I've been digging the EP “Agnys” by Aria Rostami that I bought on a total whim. Outside of that, well…it’s winter in Oregon right now, and something about the endless damp of grey makes me crave intense music à la Tobacco, Thee Oh Sees, Death Grips, and Black Moth Super Rainbow.

Favorite place in Portland to chow down?

Sweedeedee for breakfast and coffee.
Wa Kitchen Kuu for lunch and tea.
Teote for dinner and mezcal.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for reading this. I love you.

Follow Travis Barron on Instagram (@travbarron @unlimited.time.only)