Artist, photographer and musician, Nik Ewing of the band Local Natives is a prolific traveller.
He’s been capturing memories from the road for years; much of which he posts on both the band’s and his own Instagram. There’s a cinematic quality to his photos, often captured in neutral or monochromatic tones, that give them a nostalgic sensibility. He finds patterns where the untrained tourists’ eye might not, whether it’s historical landmarks, epic landscapes or candid moments with the band. He shared a few of these photos with us and talks about the meaning behind his travel photography, below.
My grandfather’s bucket list includes traveling to every single one of the 50 states, from sea to shining sea (or something like that). His criterion is thin: pass through any section of the state on land, conscious or not. Just get in, get out, and check it off the list; no intention to soak up the aura or vibe of a state or capital city. After he takes a ferry this summer from Milwaukee across to Michigan and back, we’ll both have visited 47 of the 50 states.
John Steinbeck had a similar phase late in his life which he chronicled in Travels With Charley: In Search of America. He attributed his deep yearning for travel to wanting to educate himself on the parts of America he’d grown distant from by living in NYC and Europe for 20 years, but some have suspected that he, like most aging people, sensed his mortality and just wanted to see as much as possible. To experience other walks of life, to see a foreign landscape for the very first time, to business expense leisurely travel.
Sincere politicians might be envious of the amount of traveling I’ve been fortunate enough to experience by being in touring bands my entire adult life. Every couple of years I take an extensive lap around the world in the name of music or self-promotion (or both) and witness the slow evolutions of cities. I spend time with an old high school friend who moved to a small town, I see how the neighborhood around the same theater changes, or I’m #blessed to visit historical landmarks that some save up years to celebrate a wedding anniversary at.
My travels fall somewhere between Steinbeck and my grandfather. Sometimes I get an in-depth experience of a specific community, sometimes a screenshot of what’s in walking distance from the venue. Sometimes listening to albums on repeat while I walk around foreign cities carrying three cameras while some cities are just checkmarks on a list. But most of the time, as these photos probably illustrate best, it’s just telling those around me to “go stand over there while I take a photo of you.”