I’m not really a fashion guy. My idea of dressing up is putting on a clean T-shirt, preferably one with some exotic location pictured on it as a souvenir of my travels.
I’ve acquired hundreds of such T-shirts over the years, and in a future post I’ll reveal what I’ve done with dozens of them that have shrunk, grown threadbare from use, or have absorbed impossible-to-get-out stains. Some of them, I’ll admit, never fit in the first place, but I liked their look, so I bought them.
My fixation with travel-related T-shirts must have rubbed off on my good friend and frequent collaborator, photographer Dennis Cox of Ann Arbor, Michigan, with whom I have traveled to Africa, China, and other far-flung destinations to produce travel articles — I write the words, he supplies the pictures.
One of our collaborations, on gloriously beautiful Mt. Huangshan in China, was honored as the best magazine story of the year by the Pacific Asia Travel Association back in 1995. And Dennis has been named Photographer of the Year by the Society of American Travel Writers. In short, he’s a top-notch pro, and I’ve used his images frequently on this blog over the years.
But back to the T-shirts.
Dennis has now branched out into the travel fashion business, designing garments such as women’s blouses and scarves that draw on his award-winning travel photography.
By converting his existing images — including iconic travel subjects such as the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Sydney Opera House — into “photo art paintings,” he’s been able to launch his own collection of custom travel fashion designs that takes the travel T-shirt concept above and beyond.
I don’t know much about the technology involved, but according to Dennis, the software he uses converts his images into a variety of painting styles, such as oils, pastels, and watercolors, which he calls “paintings with a camera.”
The images are then transferred onto the clothing, ready to wear.
Besides the travel icons mentioned above, I especially like his Bagan Dawn (Myanmar) and Koh Samui (Thailand) Seashells designs. But all are colorful, vibrant, and something different for the traveling women in your life.
You can see his creations at the Dennis Cox Collection at the online custom marketer VIDA Voices Design Studio. I would also recommend you check out Dennis’ photo website, if you love great travel photography.
And no, Dennis isn’t paying me to write this. But I do hope he’ll let me keep using his images on this blog from time to time.