The Photographic Journal

Lighting a Cosmic Fire

Essay 501 • Jun 12th 2022

Igniting a spark can be tough. Outside forces creep in with plans all their own. Self-sabotage, imposter syndrome, all the baddies.

But we have to push forward, finding fuel for fire if we’re gonna get anything done. Sometimes that inspiration can come while plugging away at a mundane task. Sometimes it happens after waking up in the middle of the night. But sometimes? You just have to do the work.

Make a plan, prep a bunch of parts, party on. Let the actual act of photography spark the motivation. For me, collaborating and experimenting in the moment can often get my brain out of a funk. Working with new, unique materials can yield different, unexpected results. I just have to be open to the journey.

For this essay I used indoor and outdoor locations to get contrasting backdrops. I experimented with a drone idea and tried out a fisheye lens for the first time. I brought a talented stylist on board, and had a skilled photo assistant helping in the studio. All the while, the star of this photo essay delivered artistry and versatility.

It was the perfect playtime for our brains and all the fuel I needed to ignite that spark.


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 was TPJ’s 2020 Photographer-in-Residence.
Website | Instagram

Model: Stephanie Kim
Wardrobe Stylist: Drew Donnelly
Studio Photo Assistant: Chris Escamilla

Check out Jason’s other TPJ photo essays:
Suburban Youth
Mind Glow
Vanished Spirits
Ellissa & Harry
Alley Cat
Flowers or Fruit
Isolation Station
Allergy Academy
Niza Jay
Inner Child
Headspace Parade
My Blue Heaven Happy Place
On A Roll
Bright Idea