At 21-years-old, Toronto-native, Joachim Johnson, has achieved more as a photographer in the past two years than some do in a decade. Counting supermodel Agyness Deyn and musician Nelly Furtado as people he has both shot and forged friendships with, Johnson is definitely hanging with the fashion it-crowd. It all began with a chance encounter with famed street style
photographer and blogger Tommy Ton, while interning for Toronto’s favourite glam-band, Fritz Helder and The Phantoms, who introduced Johnson and Ton. “(Tommy) was going to Paris Fashion Week and I was like ‘That’s perfect! That’s where it’s going to start for me, I’m going to go to Paris.’ I didn’t know anyone there in the fashion industry. I didn’t have any connections," says Johnson. Spending all of his savings on a ticket to Paris, Johnson hopped on a plane and went to shoot outside the shows.
When his 1970s camera went on the fritz outside of Balenciaga, it was another chance meeting that helped him get his foot in the fashion world. One of the industry’s leading fashion photographers, David Mushegain, helped Johnson fix his broken camera and after a chat, he offered Johnson front row seats to Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel and Margiela. That meeting turned into and invitation to New York where Johnson would eventually meet model Agyness Deyn.
Since then, Johnson has photographed Deyn and an editorial for her new online website,
Naag.com, along with top publications:
Soko and the UK’s
Sunday Times. A talented star on the rise, Joachim Johnson is down to earth, filled with passion and is most definitely one to watch. We asked him our
infamous DNA questions to learn more about his inspiration, style and life.
1. How do you like to spend a rainy day?
At the Mercer Hotel (In New York City) drinking tea and enjoying their incredible book collection.
2. What captures your eye?
Beautiful things. I see beauty everywhere; it’s enough to make my head explode sometimes.
3. Words to live by?
Live to live, and live to be happy. Basically, be happy.
4. What are your wardrobe staples?
I like really simple things. I like a simple pair of black jeans and simple monochromatic t-shirt.
5. Do you have any re-occurring dreams?
Sometimes I dream I wake up in a really big green field, and there’s no end on either side. I just run through this field for a really long time and never get to any end. Then right when I’m about to give up, suddenly I’m at the end. I always wake up right when I reach the end so I never know what’s past it.
6. Where is your favourite place in Toronto?
The Hart House library at the University of Toronto
7. What makes New York City special to you?
New York is special to me because it’s shown me that it is possible to do what you dream to do. It has shown me that even though it is a big city and there are millions of people, if you keep yelling, eventually someone’s going to hear you and it spirals from there.
I love, as a photographer, Paolo Roversi. He is a genius, and someone who really knows their craft and that’s amazing. (Richard) Avadon, obviously, is someone who inspires me to always keep learning knew things about photography and lighting and the technical side as well as the playful side.
9. What are your top music picks to have playing while shooting?
Right now, I love the new LCD Soundsystem album (This Is Happening).
10. Parkdale or Williamsburgh?
Neither. I love the Lower East Side of Manhattan, that’s where I live, it’s amazing.
11. Favourite designers?
I really like Rick (Owens); I think he’s awesome. Rick Owens for casual and also for extremes. James Pierce, for really simple things, his stuff is really cool and comfortable.
12. What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned this year?
To be patient. I (always want) to run and jump and leap and travel here and fly here and sleep here and shoot this and tell that story and I just always have to remind myself to chill out. Keep telling the stories but don’t lose your mind. So patience.
13. What do you value most in your friends?
Realness. Realness and creativity. I think there’s disadvantages to living in these mega cities and that is that you meet a lot of “suspect” people, so what I really admire, and what I look for is realness in my friends. It’s really important.
14. What gets you excited?
When I can take photos (and) when I can tell stories. Anytime I can pick up a camera and take a picture of something that I want to take a picture of, I get really, insanely excited.
15. What makes a face interesting?
I love eyes. I’m very, very drawn to eyes.
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