We believe that human connection is a fundamental component of having a meaningful life. Over time, with busy lives getting busier and technology changing how we interact with one another, we at HNDSM crave connection, collaboration and community. This desire led us to create a new photography and interview series called Peer Portraits. This initiative allows us to chat with our peers as a way to bridge the distance we have felt of late. Our questions are simple but thoughtful and bring in a little fun. We hope this idea serves as inspiration to reach out to your neighbor; familiar or unknown.
Taj Reed is a New York-based creative producer, writer and photographer. Taj photographed HNDSM’s latest collection of apparel and jewelry. Over a short phone conversation, one afternoon in August, we got the opportunity to learn a little more about him. Growing up in a few different places in the US, Taj has found the faster pace of New York City to be the best fit for his current lifestyle. While he enjoys the stimulating environment, calmness amidst the hectic energy is essential. Taj was able to describe the stillness of his favourite moment of the day.
“Every morning I try to spend a few minutes disconnecting, centering myself, grounding myself. I am a firm believer in meditation and being centered and present which is difficult to find in the day in New York. It is difficult to disconnect. My favorite part of the day was that meditative five minutes in the morning.”
Taj shared the origin story of his name and how his appreciation for it has changed over the years. “As a kid I thought Taj was a kid’s name because no adults had it. Growing up, I didn’t like my name mostly because I didn’t know anyone with the name. I just wanted to fit in. After some time, not fitting in and moving a lot forced me to be comfortable with who I was. The origin of the name was Terrance - Taj is a take on Terrance Junior. My mom was reading about India and the Taj Mahal during delivery. I really like my name now. It’s unique enough. If I were an athlete, I would probably just go by Taj.”
We were curious to know what Taj thought everyone should experience in their life. “Everyone should experience another country. Everyone should travel and see different parts of the world. There is nothing like immersing yourself in someone else’s perspective of the world. Everything is different when you leave the comfort of a place where you grew up. It changes state to state but there’s something about being in a different country. I would encourage everyone to travel. My favourite place by far is Iceland. It felt like another planet. It was the most pristine, preserved nature I have ever seen - volcanoes, mountains, water, geysers, all at once. You feel vulnerable. I was driving next to active volcanoes. To the left of you is water to infinity and to the right are active volcanoes the size of skyscrapers. It was very humbling.”