Gritty New York: Travis Gayle the Man Behind the Camera

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Words by Jamie Etheridge

A chat with @NYCdimps

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Travis Gayle is an upcoming street photographer in New York City. Known for gritty, realistic shots that capture the essence of street life in the city, Gayle is famous for his subway shots and knows how to capture the feeling of a late night taxi ride. In an exclusive interview with Knot Standard, Gayle offers a glimpse of the man behind the camera.

Knot Standard: Tell us about your background. How did you get into photography?

Travis Gayle: I grew up along the coastal side of the small island called Jamaica. My mother and I lived very close to the beach and we would always talk about how beautiful it would be just to take photos of it every day. I never owned a camera until I came to America. My freshman year of high school was when I was first introduced to other aspects of photography. I took classes, through high school, into college and even online, learning as much as I could about each aspect of a camera.

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Knot Standard: What type of camera/ equipment do you use and why?

Gayle: I currently own a Nikon D5500. Also thinking of owning a Canon in the near future as I look to transition into more portraits and streetwear.

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Knot Standard: Why street photography?

Gayle: The reason I started out with street photography stems from me growing up in the streets of Jamaica. There is always beauty in the streets no matter how dim and gritty it may seem, and that’s what makes photography great. Having the ability to take street life and bring it forth to give your audience an understanding of what is taking place within this image.

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Knot Standard: How does your fashion sense or personal style fit in with your work?

Gayle: Growing up I was always big on suits, the feel they give and the statement they make. So my dream job was to work on Wall Street so that I could wear a suit every day. That’s when I thought, well what if I take someone in a suit and put them somewhere else and take a photo how would that look? For example, imagine a man in a suit reading a children’s book to a group of kids. Snap a photo and right there he already seems out of place, but for those looking closely he actually fits in well, because he brings this image to life by being in a photo that usually does not coexist with the norm of men wearing suits.

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Knot Standard: What is the most interesting thing you’ve learned or experienced since starting as a photographer?

Gayle: The most interesting thing I’ve learned since I started doing photography would have to be patience. A photographer teacher of mine once told me something I’ll never forget. She said: “Most photographers wait there whole life for that one perfect image”. With that instilled into my brain, having patience and thinking of all aspects of my photography has helped me grow to be a better photographer.

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Check out Mr Gayle’s work at @nycdimps on Instagram or on Tumbler at nycdimps.tumblr.com.