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Arts + Culture

On Our Radar: Grant Legan

Grant Legan isn't your typical travel photographer. He likes to get his hands dirty (mountain climbing in China, anyone?), but cleans up nice enough to shoot fashion spreads for glossy mags like GQ. Chelsea Bengier sits down with the artist to talk smoke bombs, falling off motorcycles and his dream of being a fish.

LA-based photographer Grant Legan began his globetrotting career in 2008 when he moved to Australia for six months — and has been on the road ever since. "I’m constantly itching to go somewhere new," says the self-avowed thrill seeker. "Once, I almost got frostbite hiking a mountain in China, and another time I fell off a motorcycle riding around Thailand."

We love his Instagram feed, which looks like a Kinfolk-inspired Pinterest board, and his ability to capture the raw, real essence of a person or place. "Every culture has its own quirkiness," he says. "I don’t want to see the polished version of it; I want to see grit and substance."

The artist’s next stops? Mexico City and Marrakesh. Follow Grant on Instagram and Tumblr to join in on his global travels, and scroll down to see more of his badass work.

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1

How does photography affect your perspective of a place?

My eye is trained to see the beauty in the everyday, so I focus in on the details that most people ignore. I hope that my photos capture a moment that inspires you to travel in a real way. I don't want people to just look at my feed and think, "omg, your life is so awesome."

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2

Your pictures have a very playful tone. Where do you get your inspiration?

I bring in artistic elements — like smoke bombs — to add something you're not used to seeing in a place. I like to push the boundaries and show a creative take on a moment in life.

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3

Where do you like to travel in your downtime?

I secretly want to be a fish. I grew up in the midwest so being in a remote tropical location, with the ocean, beach and stars at night, is amazing.

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What are your must-have travel accessories?

A journal, a book, pre-downloaded podcasts, a camera (obviously) and a good amount of underwear... just kidding. I always bring a portable Bluetooth speaker because I love having music to set the tone.

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5

Most memorable travel experience?

I was so excited to go to Israel because I've never experienced that culture before. I think that’s the exciting part about being an explorer or adventurer: there's always something new to discover in the world.

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What are your favorite destinations to shoot?

I love the fast-paced energy of Paris, London and New York City, and the laid-back, carefree culture of Kauai, Spain and Australia.