If you’re in the mood for some photography inspiration, you might want Patagonia staff photographer Jeff Johnson in this quick photo walk around Manhattan.
Feeling a little lost and uninspired in your photography and think you can use some motivation? You might want to sit down and follow around Patagonia Staff Photographer Jeff Johnson in this quick photo walk video recently shared by Gear Patrol. Ten blocks, roughly eleven minutes, and an insightful interview may just give you the inspiration and sense of adventure to get your photography going again.
As Patagonia’s staff photographer, Johnson is always on the go looking for the most stunning, action-packed, and picturesque destinations. However, we learn from the video that his sense of adventure came from growing up wanting to explore beyond his hometown of Danville, California. He eventually moved to Hawaii when he turned 18 and lived on the North Shore of Oahu for 15 years while traveled extensively. There, he worked various jobs, including being a flight attendant for 12 years. Around the time, photography became his alternate storytelling medium apart from writing and he felt that it was “the next step to telling stories” since he was visiting a lot of great places anyway.
It may be surprising to some, but Johnson’s film photography beginnings with a Canon EOS 2 have stayed with him, as he occasionally still shoots film for his personal projects. In line with this, he doesn’t think one is necessarily better than the other; it’s all a matter of what your work or project requires and what inspires you.
“I don’t think one is better than the other. It’s just the right tool for the right job. Or it just depends on what you’re into and what inspires you,” he said on the film vs. digital debate. However, for low-light and night photography, he finds it better to shoot digital. Otherwise, he says there’s no difference.
As for his favorite photography gear, he loves Leica cameras (like the Leica M10 he was shooting with) for its simplicity, and he finds himself shooting within five minutes of taking one out of the box. “I think there’s something about having less options; the less options you have, the more creative you have to be,” he said on appreciating the beautiful and effective simplicity of Leica.
“If you have limitless options I think it would be overwhelming…I don’t want to have to think about anything else; I just want to take a picture.”
Other interesting details from the video include Johnson’s insights about some of his past and present projects, as well as his affinity for skateboarding and how it taught him to get out of his comfort zone. It’s also great to hear him share what motivates him to shoot.
“There’s still something about pressing the shutter and kinda hoping that you got something, and seeing if you got it or not. It’s as simple as that. Just the act of taking a picture, and being able to see it later, being able to share it with people. It’s pretty simple.”
If he can get inspired with that simple idea, there’s no reason we can’t find our own simple motivations as well.
Screenshot image from the video