Reflecting On Sounds of the Summer

Hey everyone,

So I’m still a little tired from last night as I got a chance to head out to Manhattan to the Producers Club Theater to screen a new version of the trailer for Sounds of the Summer for a whole new audience. It has been a while since I have shown my work to a group of people who 98% of those in attendance I didn’t know or had even shaken hands with, but the support was much appreciated.

After every trailer, the audience applauded one another’s work, which was warming and personally surprising as I hadn’t experienced something like that in the past. I did arrive with several physical copies and left them near the door for those to take on their way back home and just said “being able to know that you will be willing to give my work a chance is all the support I need.”

Looking back, Sounds of the Summer did teach me a lot. It taught me how to better manage my time when working on a project like this, how to better pace certain information when editing something, learning how to submit to film festivals (yes, I did submit it to a couple film festivals), and how to continue to want to build a audience for your work. Sounds of the Summer came out in late May of this year, and I reawakened my interest to get this project a audience in December.

A guy at the show last night told me “the person that will go the hardest for your work is yourself. Show as many people how hard you worked on something. Even if that work is old to you, it’s new to many others.”

If your reading this and we talked and you picked a copy, thank you. Seriously, thank you.



The 1st “Sounds of the Summer” Review!

Hello everyone,
As you all know I released Sounds of the Summer in May 2017, and I just got my first film review thanks to Galina S. from of the good folks over at Fiverr. Here’s her thoughts and let me know your thoughts as well.


Sounds of the DC

            “Sounds of the Summer”, Travis
Houze’s short urban music documentary, opens with an off-narration, promising
us Washington DC is rich in talents and open for artistic collaboration. As the
film revolves around the stories of DC’s music names, it gives us more than the
recognition of talents and their networking. It spotlights their struggles to
make it and build a heterogeneous yet consistent and recognizable music scene.

            Made in the classical documentary
manner that allows the interviewees to speak about the given subjects directly
and focuses on the conversation, Houze begins the mosaic of DC scene with the
story of the go-go music genre, originating from this city and making a
significant part of its cultural history. For this occasion, the genre is analyzed
through conversation with Washington’s well-known radio hosts still keeping the
go-go alive on the radio waves. One particular figure, “the godfather of
go-go”, as mentioned in the film, imposes as the key figure of the genre. More
than the central character of the topic, he appears as a good ghost and music
guru inspiring the interviewees. He is depicted as a legend representing what
go-go is in DC: creative unity and brotherhood. We can see the reflection of
his work in the passion of the interviewed radio hosts. They come as the locals
in charge of remembering the history of music in DC as well as the ones who
will create it by supporting local artists on air.

            Further, the film points out to the
significance of collaboration in the music community. A curator speaks about
bringing numerous MCs together while the founder of One Love Massive looks back
to her collaborations with the musicians, explaining how financial interests
have to be excluded from stories like these. And we believe it. As the audience
can see with their own eyes, the spaces hosting the local musicians are what we
could label as underground, places for the urban community, places that won’t
be supported by the big music industry or organizations. The places upgraded to
authentic venues with graffiti, giving the visual artists to carve their own
names into the vibrant scene. Also, places with small stages, allowing the
intimate atmosphere between the performers and audience. Supported by the
archive footage with some performances, we can get a decent insight into that
vibe. It is a pity more footage wasn’t included, as those short inserts give
the film an additional dimension of enjoyment.

            Contrasted to the story of city’s
rich music history and contemporary scene are the observations of “uneducated
artists”, those who don’t articulate themselves on the radio or do not pay
attention to the public image they create in general. That’s when this film
gets bold, daring to criticize the issues present within the observed community
rather than just depicting its vibrancy and authenticity. Pointing out to this
and other problems, as well as suggesting solutions, is a part of the objective
observation of this scene that still grows. The interviewees, both artists and
radio hosts, are aware of the mission ahead of them, which is putting the DMV
music on the international music map. They show great consciousness of the need
for even closer collaborations, putting egos aside and going beyond their
maximum for the cause. 

            In the finale, we can see the
interviewees trying to motivate the locals to get involved with the scene. A
good point was made when the earlier mentioned curator insisted on the idea
that not everyone should stand in front, with him being the perfect example
that one can contribute to the scene without having to perform. This is a
democratic view inviting everyone to express. The music, as probably the most
present art form, is only the glue for the community spirit, while the
underground is big enough for anyone who wishes to be there, regardless of
their music capabilities.  The concept of
the film is also more focused on the people behind the stage, cleverly
depicting what has to happen before someone performs and gains public
attention. It highlights the significance of the radio, almost forgotten media,
in the local culture, with the hosts being the link between the audience and
performers. And eventually, they invite both performers and audience to
participate in the creation of a more prominent DMV scene.

            Although the locals can be vastly
inspired by this piece, some of them enough to give their own contribution, the
film omits to give an invitation to the people outside the DC or the USA. At
least it doesn’t do it explicitly. For a curious viewer interested in the urban
culture (I would say American urban culture but, as seen in the film, the scene
insists on cultural diversity), these twenty minutes of music talk and
observing the entire scene’s mechanism are more than enough to put DC on their
touristic map. There is enough of sound and visual material to evoke the
appealing city atmosphere and persuade us it has a truly original cultural
core.

            In conclusion, we can say this film
is the city’s audio-visual ID, a representative material depicting the subject
concisely. It brings out both emotions and information and entices the audience
to do a further research on their own, listen to the included musicians, check
out where they can listen to go-go music or how they can join the underground
parties. It’s a singing city, with music in its heart and streets. It is a
different city from that one we know from the news. The film is inspiring and
able to spark ideas regarding community arts, not only music. By the end of
watching this documentary, mentioning both the glow and the setbacks of its
culture, anyone recognizing the creative potential in their own environment is
persuaded that they should start something or join other creatives. As seen,
the potential is everywhere and lifting it up to a higher level is possible.
Through collaboration, devotion and love. And not only in the summer.


Shooting with Splooshie

If you ask any fellow photographer that you know “If there is one model that you ever wanted to work with, who would it be?”, they will immediately give you answer. It could range from celebrities to even those you admire only a few miles away from them. Well, Splooshie is one of those models for me.

I’ve been following Splooshie since 2013, around the time she started modeling and I started getting into the swing of freelance photography. We met a while back in person at a open house studio, but hadn’t really shot together since earlier this month (nearly 4 years later). I found out about her reaching out to photographers for a open shoot day in a gorgeous hotel, and just scheduling wise worked out perfectly.

In that time, I was able to get some photographs that surpassing not only mine but her expectations as well. About 80% of the shoot was using strictly natural light, leaving only the last shots in a bathtub using my soft box/flash setup. The colors of the walls worked perfectly since they matched her hair color.

Heres a link to her Patreon website to view the images (the photoset is NSFW): https://www.patreon.com/posts/11216586


At the Phillips Collection

Hello everyone, 

Been some time and I wanted to post only the most interesting things going on lately. So this past month I was lucky enough to have my photograph “The Purification of Summer” featured at The Phillips Collection as a part of 2016 James McLaughlin Memorial Staff Show.

The James McLaughlin Memorial Sta Show honors the memory of
James McLaughlin (1909–82), an accomplished still life painter. In 1932,
McLaughlin began his association with founder Duncan Phillips as a
painting student at the Phillips Gallery Art School. Until his death in 1982,
McLaughlin played an active role in the museum’s activities as a curator
who hired art students as museum guards. The Phillips Collection has held
an annual sta show for the past 30 years to feature the works of artists
employed at the museum.


I also did a short speech on my work on the video below.

Blog Post Link: http://blog.phillipscollection.org/2016/09/09/staff-show-2016-travis-houze/


As We Crown Blaq Excellence

One of the first major shoots this year was shooting and preparing new fresh imagery for the musical group Blaq Crown Entertainment. The main theme was to keep it regal and “Empire” inspired (if you see the promotional images for the TV show, thats the resemblence.)

After shooting main lineups, I wanted to do one black and white portrait style image for the CEO Devin White with a white florescent key light setup to keep it to a soften classic feel, and eventually ended up shooting all the musicians the same way as well.

Blaq Crown Entertainment group image with musicians and corporate.

Devin White. Singer/Songwriter and CEO

Ant Wavy. Rapper.

Asia Mills. Singer.

Savannah. Singer.

Using Format