October 20, 2014
New York City, New York, USA
After his graveyard shift at retailer H&M, Travis Harris, 25, makes his way home through a deserted Times Square at 3 a.m. when trains only run a few times an hour. The work is unrelated to his career aspirations, but he works at the discount fashion chain to make ends meet.
Travis is a part of a global generation of underemployed Millennials. In the US, unemployment hovers around 5.7% nationwide, but 16% amongst young adults, resulting in a palpable stagnation for people like Travis.
By the last leg of the trip Travis is exhausted. A homeless man lays out behind him, sleeping.
Travis opens the door to his apartment building. He moved back home and lives with four other family members after a few years in North Carolina where he started a small video production service called Travito Photo and Film.
Once home, Travis moves his child Zaire, 5, from grandmother's bed into his son's bedroom, which once belonged to Travis.
Currently, Travis does not have a room and sleeps on the living room couch. Despite exhaustion, Travis stays up to browse music videos and researches directors whose work he admires.
It is easier for him to stay awake and get his son prepared for school then to take a nap for two hours in between. At this time he gains his second wind to carry him until he drops off Zaire.
View of the roof from a top floor window where Travis likes to spend time away from his family whose apartment is just one floor below.
Travis helps Zaire get on his sweater and jeans.
Every morning Travis walks his son 10 blocks to his school.
Travis opens the door to his apartment on the top floor. The stairs of the 5-floor walk up. are the last hurdle between him and home.
Zaire plays with his bookbag as Travis calls his manager. The after school program was cancelled today, leaving Travis to call out of work.
Feeling partially guilty, partially relieved he welcomes the change in schedule since he is considering quitting the job due to the hours and low pay. He hopes his freelance work producing videos for local artists and non-profits will keep him afloat.
Diplomas and graduation photos hang on the wall of the Harris residence.
Before leaving college Travis was pursuing Criminal Justice at the State University of New York, his last resort after his original major in Electronic Music and Media was terminated in 2009 after budget cuts gutted his academic program as well as the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) he depended to cover the costs of school.
The passing away of his grandmother and birth of his son added to the pressures he faced. No longer pursuing his interests, he left college to do the work he aimed to do.
Travis plays with his 5-year-old son. He became a young father at the age of 20 and supports his son through his freelance video production work, but it's not enough to pay all his bills. He hopes to afford a place of his own one day, but for now lives with his mother and sister.