Bill Travis

The photos below are all "self portraits". They are part of the series of photos I took of several of my Pan Am Pilot friends who had various hobbies and avocations. The portraits for the project were taken around 1982. (I was 38 years younger and 28 pounds lighter) This was also before I decided to become a Vocalist.

As in all the other Pan Am pilot photos in this series I used a Horseman 4 x 5 camera. You'll see part of the camera in the bottom photo. (The one I jokingly refer to as the nude.

In order to take the self portraits I enlisted my wife to sit in for me while I adjusted the lights, focus, and shutter/aperture settings; then I would get in the photo. She would confirm the positioning, and I would snap the photo with the remote cable.

As in the other Pan Am pilot photos I wanted to show the differences in personality that a person displays when in the different roles or hobbies they perform. It's one of the reasons that we don't always recognize a person that we see, because we're accustomed to seeing them in another role. As an example, a police officer that you've seen many times in uniform may not be recognizable to you right way if you happen to see him in a soccer uniform, or riding a bucking bronco at a rodeo. With the vocalist musician and singer, and pilot, Dick Mayer you may have seen him perform as a musician, and you probably wouldn't recognize him in his Pan Am pilot uniform.

The photo in the Pan Am pilot uniform should show the more serious side that a passenger might expect when they walk onto an airplane. What you're seeing here is a photo of a photo. The photo is a 16 x 24 which is mounted in a frame with some memorabilia that my wife set up. It would be a major project to remove the photo from the frame to get a shot of the photo without the reflections of the plastic. So this will suffice.

I've always been a musician and played drums but didn't want to do a typical photo sitting behind a set of drums. So I elected to do this type of portrait. I may have been a little tired because the photo with the drum sticks is a little too serious, but nevertheless was a pretty accurate display of a part of my personality. At the time I wasn't a trained singer so that side of me didn't show up until later. Although I wasn't a vocalist 38 years ago, I had grown up playing all of the music I grew up with and had them in my head, but just hadn't trained my voice as a singer until a little later.

The nude photo below is showing my humorous side. I had seen a similar type photo before and wanted to do something like that for fun. In that photo the camera was looking into a wall mirror, so the photo is actually the reflection from the mirror.

As an afterthought as we were shooting some shots, I decided to do something extra with the picture. If you look closely you'll see what I'm talking about. If you see it, then just mention it in the comments. You'll know it when you see it. :-)

My aviation career with Pan Am ended many years ago, in 1992, and I don't do the photography anymore, but I am still a musician only now it is as a vocalist.


Since those photos back in 1982, and after retiring, I also wrote two books, "Pan Am Captain, Aiming High", and "HOA Boards", both available on Amazon.

Part of the book is about the non-aviation phase, with me being a high school dropout and how I changed my life and became a Pan Am airline pilot, and the rest is about the aviation phase of my life. I told some of the stories that I could recall and hope people will find interesting, and will give younger generations more insight into Pan Am the once greatest airline in the world.




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