Levi’s asked our photographer, Misha Vladimirskiy, to capture the essence of the Levi’s Station-to-Station tour with his trusty camera. If you’ve never heard of Station-to-Station, it’s basically a beautiful mixture of all things that resonate Americana: old trains, lots of awesome denim, train station parties and rock n’ roll that soothes the soul, all while stopping at unique and iconic towns across the U.S., each with their own twist of what it means to be an American town. I sat down with the photographer himself to discuss his views on the tour.
First, how did you get involved with this project?
Levi’s approached me about creating content around the Station To Station project that would be relevant to media outlets so they would pick up the story. We’ve worked with them before for Orange Tab, so I have some familiarity with the company itself.
You’ve worked with Levi’s before, so what were you excited about this time around?
I think just being on the trip and being around a brand that is willing to take a risk and spend a pretty ridiculous amount of money supporting art and culture; being able to let go of the reigns of its own brand aesthetic and not impose an advertising agenda on the art itself.
Trips often transform into something different or more complex than it was initially set out to be. Was everything what you expected or did it mutate into something completely unexpected by the end of the journey?
I think it wasn’t that it was different, but it wasn’t a false positive. I expected it to be amazing and it wasn’t a let down. I got to travel across the country on a train and helping a brand create art and exposing a really amazing project to the world, so it was
There always seems to be a nostalgic draw towards the authentic American experience with Levi’s. How do you think the thematic concepts of this project embodied that nostalgia?
Just being on a train makes it nostalgic and the stops that were chosen were iconic pieces of Americana, in a sense. Places like Pittsburg and Chicago, St. Paul and kansas city, santa fe – all these cities are points of contact on a map that are relevant to that authentic American culture and the themes that Levi’s embodies. Each place is unique in themselves, like Winslow, Arizona that is known for unique jewelry and has an unassuming, raw rock n’ roll spirit. I got to be in places that are so disconnected from reality, but at the same time being completely inundated by reality because it IS so real.
What were some unique aspects about this particular project?
Just the people that were on the train. Being around creatives like Cat Power, Giorgio Moroder, ‘Doc’ Kaps from the Impossible Project, and Len Peltier of Levi’s; even the people responsible for the brand, who have basically have been the architects of what Levi’s is all about over the past six years. Being around those people and feeding off their creative energy was great. My process was the most ‘commercial’ aspect of the trip, but even in that respect there was nothing that felt commercial about it. Being able to help create and being inspired – it was all incredibly palpable on this trip.
Was there anything in particular you learned on this trip? For instance, about Levi’s or about yourself?
I mean, about myself? I’m not sure…no. About the brand, definitely – its very authentic and the message it preaches and puts out into the world is the real deal. It’s so rare to see that from a brand, especially one that’s as big as Levi’s. For it to be honest and earnest like it is was amazing to see. I guess i did learn how to create things in a situation that evoke an emotion that can relate to the brand; the final product is artistic and beautiful, not commercial. I got to create artwork in the name of a brand without making the product about the brand itself. I mean, the brand relates to the final product, but it’s not about the brand at all, you know?
Lastly, what was your favorite thing about the Station to Station tour and would you do it again?
I would totally do it again. I think my favorite thing is, like I mentioned, being around the people. Being able to have the opportunity to be a part of it and be in the moment with those people.
For more on the Levi’s Station-to-Station tour, check out the full project here.