Trevor King was born in Vancouver and lived in Australia for 15 years before moving to Los Angeles. We spoke with Trevor about the photography community in LA, how it differs to life in Sydney, and where he finds a good coffee.
On Where you’re From
I was born in Calgary, Canada, then grew up on a sailboat in the South Pacific and Caribbean. Went to high school and college in Vancouver. Moved to Australia in 2001, 8 years in Melbourne, 6 years in Sydney.
On Where you’re living
I’m living in Venice Beach, Los Angeles but get back to Australia every 6 weeks for work.
On Moving From Sydney To La
I moved here with my wife and a year and a half ago. The move was pretty seamless. We took 2 years to plan and save money. We lived in Bondi so we thought we wanted to try something different by living downtown LA in a nice open plan work/live loft. We loved it for a while but missed having the ocean nearby so eventually we caved and moved a few blocks from the beach in Venice. We both are so much happier here and because we work from home mostly, it doesn’t matter where we live. If you have to commute every day in this city, it gets tiring.
On First Moving Abroad
My first big independent move overseas was when I was 21. I was working in finance for a year in Vancouver and hated it so I wanted to go travel for a year and figure out what I wanted to do for a career. I planned to travel around Australia for a year, then head back to Canada. I ended up falling in love with Australia and surfing and being away from home. It was an adventure. I studied photography in Melbourne and realised I could make a living from doing what I had been doing for fun, taking pictures.
On life in a new culture
I’m inspired by everything around me. I feel LA is really similar to Sydney in terms of lifestyle but there is so much more other culture here. The city is huge and dirty and buzzing with action. I shoot a lot on location and not so much in studio so having a whole new continent to explore and shoot is really exciting. No matter what city I’m in, I get a bit tired or used to it, it’s nice to have a new place to have a fresh take on it.
On La Since Living There
When we arrived at our first airbnb, right off the plane, lacking sleep and proper direction from our host, we circled the streets looking for our apartment. We were a bit freaked out. A few homeless people here, boarded up windows, not many people on the streets. I was a bit concerned that my wife wasn’t feeling safe and that was not the best start for our move to LA. Looking back on it, we now laugh when we drive by that neighbourhood, it wasn’t a dodgy neighbourhood, that’s just LA. Coming from Australia, it is just a bit of a culture shock. Australia is so small and clean compared to LA.
I’m inspired by everything around me. The city is huge and dirty and buzzing with action.
On Being Australian In the USA
Most of the people I meet have nothing but great things to say about Australia and welcome me with open arms. Though, I am a middle aged caucasian. Might be different if I was another race, depending on who you talk to. The US is a bit messed up that way. They definitely have some work that needs to be done with politics, education, race issues, medicare, etc. But is all worth it when you see the work opportunity here. 10 times the population of Australia means a whole shit ton more work to tap into.
On the photography community in LA
I feel that it is same same but different. It’s on a bigger scale here. I feel that in Aus, because the industry is so small and there are so many really talented photographers, there is a need to keep your contacts and jobs close to your heart and not share. Here in LA I’ve found other photographers have helped me out when I’ve asked questions. It is really fresh and has made me want to be a connector. If people ask, I help. In Aus I wouldn’t have been so keen to do that because that is just how it is. It is healthier to share and communicate with other photographers in the industry, we all learn more and can generate more work for each other. There is definitely a lot of talk and not much follow through here in LA but I feel like that happens in my industry everywhere.
On the scale of the LA photography industry
Huge. And getting bigger. Kind of daunting when I actually got settled here and really started researching. But that is all part of moving, starting all over and finding my space in the industry here.
On Something New That’s Inspiring
Fish Tacos. Ha. Actually I love all of the wilderness here. Drive an hour in any direction out of the city and you get desert, high mountains, snow, coastline, lakes, forrest, and Mexico!
On Current Projects
I’m working on a few jobs to finish up the year. I’m off to Scotland then back to Australia. Then I’m actually joining my parents in San Diego mid Dec to join them on their 188’ power yacht to cruise down to Cabo San Lucas at christmas. I’m going to document the journey and get them some photo and video content for their site. www.saltyadventure.com
On Your Favorite Collaboration Recently
There have been a few favourites this year. I just got back from 5 days in Havana, Cuba with one of my clients. In May I was shooting swimwear in West Australia and we had a day off and got to go whale shark diving. I love the places I get to travel with work.
It is healthier to share and communicate with other photographers in the industry, we all learn more and can generate more work for each other.
On Something Everyone Should Do When They Arrive
Make sure you have your story straight for customs at LAX. Eat a taco, go for a hike, drink mescal, become a vegan, sit in traffic, check out the Venice boardwalk, it is crazy entertaining.
On Something He Wishes He’d Been Told
What mobile phone and bank is best for international travelers… I’ve worked out one of those so far, T-Mobile, unlimited text and data, worldwide. Boom!!
West side for beach lifestyle and cooler temperatures, Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu. East for more inner city life, more restaurants and night life, Echo Park, Silverlake, Downtown. I love Silverlake but it’s too far from the surf.
On Good Coffee
When we first moved we would spend hours looking for a decent coffee. Venice has a bunch. GTA, Toms, Intelegencia, Ground Works, Cafe Gratitude. Coffee here is getting better but it is nothing compared to Australia. They love charging a lot for what we think is normal coffee. I’ve paid US$6.50 for a cappuccino. That’s close to AU$10!! It wasn’t great. You win some, you lose some.
On Where To Go For Inspiration
For a drive. Once I find locations, ideas come from there.
On Getting Out Of Town
Palm Springs lots, been camping in Death Valley, drive 3 hours south and you’re in Mexico. There is so much more, Ojai, Big Sur, Yosemite, Big Bear, Idle Wild, etc.
On the First 500 Dollars You Spent
A bed. It didn’t cost much more than that and is surprisingly one of the best mattresses Ive owned. LA has a ton of mattress stores.
On Something Important That’s Hard To Find
Good coffee!!! I don’t really miss much Australian food like vegemite or TimTams. I have stopped eating meat since May. Don’t know if it’s because I think the meat in the US is worse than Aus or if its from watching Cowspirsacy one too many times. It’s “so LA” but really it’s quite easy to eat really tasty vegetarian and vegan food here. I do miss certain Australian bathroom products, finding a replacement moisturiser and deodorant is a bit of a mission. I just stock up when I go back.
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