For Jeff Luker, wanderlust ins't about escaping his home in New York City; his relentless search for sprawling American scenery is a youthful rite of passage.
Looking at a collection of Jeff Luker’s photography is very much like taking a visual vacation—or at least indulging in a world so carefree, so full of adventure, and so beautifully wrought it seems obviously false, or inconceivable in its near-perfect rendering of what post-youth, pre-commitment life should look like.
Luker himself seems aware of both the fleetingness of these moments and, with one of his trusty point-and-shoots in hand (a Yashica T4 and a Contax T2, for the geeks out there), he’s endlessly traveling, searching for epic moments and then, SNAP, taking them as his own, more or less indelibly. “I like the immediacy of these cameras, just raise it up and snap a photo,” he says, “I decided a long time ago I would rather capture something important and let it be slightly out of focus or underexposed rather than mess up the whole thing.”
Aesthetic inspiration comes from similarly rough-and-tumble American wanderers, from Huckleberry Finn to Robert Frank. Like Huck, Luker spends his time at home dreaming up his next departure with a frequency with which most people plan what’s for lunch, and recruiting whoever is available to be his travel companion and artistic subject. “I don't stay in one place too often, so I am traveling as much as I can afford too,” he explains, “There is no separation between my life and work, pretty much.”
Which means we’ll have plenty more opportunities to enjoy our twenties vicariously through Luker. He says it best, in fact: “There is something very important about documenting young life in America these days. People needed to be reminded about the possibilities and the endlessness of it all, places you never thought actually existed.”