Allergy Academy

Essay 452 • Jun 29th 2020

We wear face masks for our safety and for the safety of others. But every time I see a face mask, I’m reminded of my childhood. I used to wear them to mow the lawn. I’m allergic to many types of grasses and trees, not to mention animal dander, fruit skins, dust, and more. If I didn’t wear a face mask during yard work, I’d sneeze for a week.

But this was the first time I’ve conducted a photo shoot while wearing one.

Ellissa and I explored two contrasting times and locations. The first shoot took place in the morning at her East Los Angeles backyard and the second took place at dusk in the mountain ranges of Angeles National Forest. Taken a few weeks apart amidst the quarantine, we stayed socially distant and worked within the limitations to tap into that creative caffeine that had been brewing in our brains.

I’m always down for a challenge, and this was no exception. We did have fun though, and I’m thankful for the conversation and warm outdoor air. As far as my allergies go, I’ve outgrown a few of them. But I think of the remaining ones like Kryptonite—they keep me on my toes.


Jason Travis is a photographer, designer, illustrator, and musician based in Los Angeles. His work has been featured by CNN, USA Today, Gizmodo, BuzzFeed, BOOOOOOOM, and many more. He’s allergic to cats, carrots, and will forever love the 90s. He is currently TPJ’s Photographer-in-Residence.
Website | Instagram

Model: Ellissa Starr

Check out Jason’s other TPJ photo essays:
Suburban Youth
Mind Glow
Vanished Spirits
Ellissa & Harry
Alley Cat
Flowers or Fruit
Isolation Station