He moved to San Francisco at 18 and almost got swallowed up by the streets. Today, Travis Jensen is one of the foremost photographers of the myriad complexities of an urban icon of Californian living.
Travis Jensen answers the phone with a bleary voice. It’s the crack of dawn in San Francisco, but it doesn’t bother him too much. The street photographer with a cool 50,000 followers on Instagram has a seven-and-a-half mile walk into work every morning, and he uses it to take photographs.
In black and white, Jensen shows a different side to a gleaming city, the urban icon of California living, the most socially liberal city in America, and now the headquarters of the world’s technology titans.
“We’re the victims of the tech boom,” Jensen says. “I work full-time and I can barely afford to live here. Everyone here works a job and then has another hustle. And even if that’s selling dope, I respect it, because I know how hard it is to survive here.”
Jensen moved to San Francisco from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, fresh out of high school and with $800 dollars to his name. “It’s a damn miracle I’m not in jail or dead,” he says. “And I’m not even kidding; it was rough, man. Smack in the middle of a big city with no gameplan.”
He now works for a law firm – “but I’m not a lawyer” – and is a father of two boys, a five-year-old and a three-year-old. Every morning, he takes the walk downtown, camera at the ready.