“I don’t want to rely on color,” says Travis Jensen, a San Francisco-based street photographer, as we’re walking from the Glen Park BART station to the Embarcadero, where he works. He has been doing this for years, several days a week.
He starts walking a little before sunrise with his camera, looking around for a candid scene. As we walk he talks about corners and places where he’s taken photographs before, and the experience with the people he has photographed. “You never know what’s gonna happen, you know … it’s very unpredictable,” says Jensen after he captures a woman at a hair salon. “This, over there, made my day.”
Jensen moved to San Francisco when he was 18 years old. Originally from Milwaukee, Wis., he has lived and grown with San Francisco, formed a family, and taken innumerable portraits of the people here.
“The Mission is hands-down my favorite neighborhood to photograph in,” he says. He likes being the outsider in the Mission, and admires the strong bond that families have here and the way they survive in this urban environment. He didn’t have that connection with his family when he was young, and seeing how families survive and behave in the Mission has touched him deeply.
Jensen has published four books, three of them with Brad Evans: “Tenderloin USA,” “Nevada Bound: A Six-Day Desert Road Trip,” “iSnapSF Field Journal,” and a last solo book of photos taken with the iPhone application Hipstamatic, titled “Wish You Were Here: San Francisco Street Snaps.”