To celebrate Passion Passport’s five-year anniversary, we teamed up with ONA Bags and created a collection of travel-inspired camera bags in five limited-edition colors, each chosen to represent the vibrant nature of travel and the rich experiences that can be found around the world.

We gifted a different colored bag to five talented photographers and challenged them to incorporate them into their shots, and daily lives.

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First up is Andrew Kearns, a landscape photographer whose shots of the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest have us in a serious state of wanderlust. We caught up with Andrew to learn more about his journey with photography and how the bag impacted his creative process.  

Creatives utilize multiple mediums to express themselves. Why did you choose photography?

I love taking photos and documenting my travels and experiences — it’s always been fun no matter the camera at hand. However, I love documenting through video and vlogs as well. That said, beyond photo and video, I make it a point to be a positive voice to those who choose to follow my adventures. My life is pretty unreal — I get to do what I love for work, but that’s due to years of hard work and persistence. I don’t want people to look at my life and be jealous. I want them to get out there and make their dreams happen too — take it from a kid who quit Starbucks, stepped out of his comfort zone, and is currently being interviewed by a travel site. I want to inspire folks push past their fears and doubt, which is why I choose these mediums to express myself.

How has photography changed the way you look at the world?

I see photography in everything. I’ll think, Oh, that’s a cool composition, as I see a lamppost in the middle of an empty field. I recognize interesting compositions and colors differently than I used to, but more so, I’d say that it has brought many new experiences into my life and has opened my mind to different perspectives. Traveling changes you, and taking photos and documenting is fun, so combining the two  brings about new experiences and different points of view (literally and figuratively!).

Tell us a little about your creative process. How do you go about planning a shoot?

I’m not sure how many folks still use Pinterest, but I go hard on that platform. It’s the best way I’ve found to mood-board your ideas, find inspiration, and share it with others who are involved in what you’re creating. That said, during a shoot, I mostly focus on composition — without even realizing it. I try and step back, look at the scene, frame it in my mind, and go from there. I use the Canon 24-70L ii for that reason: it gives you a variety of different options to play with, composition wise.

How does your environment impact your work?

Oh my, environment impacts me immensely! Photography is all about capturing a feeling, and I want to inspire people to get outside by expressing exactly how I feel when I’m in the environment that I’m in. There’s something incredibly soothing about the constant white noise of the ocean, the complete silence of a forest, and even the constant motion of somewhere like NYC. I feel small in these places, which is a comforting feeling for me and one that I try to display in my work. I think that’s why I’m drawn to “small people, big places” kinds of pictures. I want to present and share my feelings of and in those environment.

How would you describe your photography experience with the ONA x PP bag? Has it changed anything about the way you shoot, or the way you travel for photography?

It’s convenient and simple. I have way too many cameras, and then some. Forcing myself to pack a single camera and lens has been good for me. Decision fatigue eases up a bit, and I can focus on the shooting rather than figuring out what camera setup to utilize.

How did the signature bag color inspire you to get creative in your city?

It matched and complimented the colors of where I like to shoot most. I love green, so shooting photos of the bag was no problem, as it matched the forest and the fall colors with ease. I usually have very “practical” bags with a lot of space for this and that, but those types of bags are typically more neutral in color, so it was fun to have something a bit different.

Why do you think collaboration in the travel/photography space is so important?

At the end of the day, it’s not about competition. If you’re trying to be the best out of everyone in your field, that will burn you out. I love working with folks on projects, whether it’s brands or people, or both! In my experience, when you create something with others, and everyone addresses the collaboration with a similar vision of what you’re trying to create, the quality of the project increases exponentially. I’m not trying to compete; I’m trying to create. When you have that mindset, you can’t lose.

Like this interview? Stay tuned to read more in our ONA series — and if you’re a photographer, consider grabbing a bag for yourself!

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Passion Passport’s community includes explorers, creators and storytellers from around the globe. Their travel experiences have challenged them, shaped their perspective of the world and given them a better sense of who they are. Both online and off, Passion Passport offers the opportunity to connect with one another, to share those pivotal moments, and to travel with purpose.