Johnnie Crawford hangs out in my local café and last year I persuaded him to share his iPhone imagery with our local camera club. This man is a creative genius. It is easy enough to see his award winning and commercial work which is almost legendary, but his personal iPhone work is also inspirational.This image of our guest photographer was taken by Cam Sanders Designer with some input from Johnnie.
Johnnie often creates his iPhone work at home. I suspect he lies in bed at night planning the concepts. His work is very conceptual and shows the mind of a true creative. Having said that he showed me an image of a chap he noticed in the supermarket, taken with his iPhone, as that is what was on him at the time. The result is a stunning image of one of Auckland’s interesting characters known as Joe.
Johnnies corporate projects, undertaken with some of the country’s top design and communications firms, have included shoots for Lion Nathan, Fletcher Challenge, Fonterra, CHH, Air New Zealand, Ports of Auckland and NGC. Because he is in hot demand his phone rings regularly with projects between Bluff and New York.
I put a few questions to Johnnie.
I have been impressed with your iPhone imagery. When did you start to value that small phone in your pocket as a photographic tool?
I started loving the iPhone when the first one was released, because the camera was suddenly so good compared to all the other mobile phone cameras. And after carrying round some form of camera with me 24/7 most of my life, either strapped to my belt or in my hand, the iPhone suddenly made so much sense.
I seldom use the normal camera on the phone, 99% of the time shooting in Hipstamatic and processing in Snapseed. Always shoot in square format because it’s refreshing after shooting in rectangles all my life. Compostional qualities with in a square become naturally more symmetrical which suits how I shoot.
Tell us about the series of iPhone work you created last year which hopefully will end up being published? ( any publishers reading this?)
Last year I was involved in a year long collaboration with a dear friend and photographic colleague Ross Land. We called the project POD (picture of the day). Every day without fail for 365 days we would shoot an image on our respective iPhones, rules were images had to be taken and processed on the phone, and emailed to a designer friend in Wellington each day before midnight. He was the daily judge. Ross and I are both fiercely competitive so each day we strived to outdo the other. Plan was to publish a book. Had the book designed and mocked up ready to go, visited all the top publishers in the country with lots of enthusiastic response but no takers.
From his iPhone series
I consider you well established and a very successful commercial photographer in Auckland, you didn’t always reside in Auckland……what made you move north?
Living in Auckland now, moved from New Plymouth 8 years ago because the bulk of my corporate clients were Auckland based. Still a ‘Naki boy at heart.
Are you formally trained in photography and how did you start this career path?
No formal training in photography, left school, being only ever good at Art and English and failing everything else straight into photographic company in New Plymouth, learning everything from darkroom work through to shooting. Shot weddings portraits family groups through to commercial industrial and corporate. Perfect grounding for any photographer.
Just shoot corporate and advertising now, plus have ongoing personal projects, both on iPhone and real camera.
Two of Johnnie’s Corporate images. showing his unique style.
Tell us a couple of highlights from your Photographic career?
Highlights of career ……. working with the top designers and art directors in the world, and traveling to pretty much every country shooting for clients Fonterra for example sent me to 9 countries in 8 weeks ( Australia, Malasia, Indonesia, United Arab Emirates, Japan, China, Mexico, Chile and America) to build their first major photo library.
Above: iPhone image – Near Hanging Rock in Victoria.
Below: iPhone image – Emily Place, Auckland
Are there other artist/creatives in your family?
My parents were medical people, my father was a neuro surgeon in Napier. I have three beautiful children, they are all artists in their own right. Ben is a musician and businessman, Sam who lives in New York shoots top end fashion world wide and Amelia is in clothes design.
What advice do you give a would be photographer in this day and age?
My advice to any ‘wanna be’ photographer, find a way of creating images that have a point of difference that immediately makes it stand out, and is different to anyone else. Think from a different viewpoint. Never be happy with ‘normal’ or ‘mundane’.
Finally you did a very beautiful series of airial nudes, probably one of the most tasteful I have seen. Can you show us one or two and talk about the inspiration behind this please? I believe these have been published far and wide including the UK’s BBC and Daily Mail.
Aerial nudes, (see below for story about the series). Yes they received huge international publicity in Newspapers etc and were published in top Art publications in Europe Japan and America. Recently this work was exhibited in New York.
See the You Tube here. Article below – sorry it is not easy to read but it is possible to read…
Thankyou Johnnie for this insightful look at who you are and what you do. I am sure many will love this blog. Please comment so Johnnie can see your reaction to his amazing photography.