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Tillamook Coast Life Blog

For this local photographer, there’s no place like home

Travis Williams Broken Banjo Photography
Photo of Travis taken by Julian Cash

This article was originally published in November, 2015 and updated in August, 2018.

Claiming “native” status means understanding a place deep in one’s bones and a fluency of local culture. Local photographer/creative Travis Williams was born on the Tillamook Coast and that makes him a native. Like anyone with big imaginings, he left home in search of “something.” What he found was a longing to return to the place that is truly his.

Sure, he travels nationally and internationally for his work, but now returns home to join the ranks of working-age creatives able to work from the Oregon Coast because of the digital age.

“There are dozens of us working in this spectacular environment and sending things out into the world,” said Travis. “We live locally and bring the outside economy back in.”

Spotlighting the region

When not making images for non-profit and for-profit clients, he is busy building community and making a local impact.  He uses his photographic skills to capture the locals and the locale. Travis draws inspiration from the region itself, sharing his home state with the world. Portraits of agricultural workers and culinary professionals in the Northwest, for example, give viewers near and far a slice of Oregon Coast spirit and personality: hard-working, humble, full of wonder.  

Not only that, in all of his endeavors, Travis has a sustainability manifesto: to encourage economic, social and environmental sustainability and work with those individuals and organizations making positive impacts in the world today.  

Because of his background in other arenas—such as anthropology and food systems—Travis has a keen understanding of environmentalism and advocates the importance of preservation. And his green philosophies are no doubt influenced by growing up in a naturally beautiful area. The rare qualities of the Tillamook Coast inspire locals and visitors alike to reconnect with nature, get to know the folks who work with it (such as forest rangers and farmers) and make the effort to protect it.

Extra-curriculars

Travis has also ventured into the worlds of design—he steps out from behind the camera to create flyers,

clear glass filled mason jar with lid on white and blue textile
Learn how to make use of jars and cans in the kitchen. Photo by Natalie Rhea Riggs.

posters, booklets and banners for clients—and video. Using his culinary and camera talents, Travis launched “The Mason Jar Suite” a few years ago. You can catch the series on YouTube and watch him turn locally grown produce into the kind of canned goods that pantry enthusiasts lust after. You’ll get unique guidance on things like how to use a pressure cooker, how to use a water bath canner and how to make sauerkraut!

A range of subjects

Even without his canning show, Travis’s background and interest in food has made him a gifted culinary and agricultural photographer. Many of his clients are restaurants, chefs, food producers and farmers.

He has a knack for different types of photography, offering his services for weddings, professional headshots, work events, conferences and environmental portraits. (This last category allows him to bring special attention to the faces and personalities of other Tillamook residents.)

And, fittingly, as he shows Oregon to the world, this creative native is also representative of those you’ll meet when visiting the unmatchable Tillamook Coast.  

See his portfolio: Broken Banjo Photography.

A Picture of Lorraine Ortiz
Lorraine Ortiz
Lorraine Ortiz has made her home at the Art Ranch, in Nehalem on the rural Tillamook Coast for the last 25 years. Her passion for the arts, writing and the environment continue to shape her work and her life choices.
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