Welcome to the "ARTIST FEATURE" here at The Rothschild Photo Collection where I will be interviewing musicians who are also photographers. So grab a cup of JOE and enjoy our first feature: ambient musician and underwater photographer Mr. Nick Johnson. Nick has a few music projects that are slightly varied but I think my favorite is his Art Rock Psychedelia project: "Phoresis" :
The music constantly shifts and varies and has a very open airy vibe that is not unlike diving into the ocean and being mesmerized by the constantly changing colors and moods of a foreign landscape. . So without further adieu, my interview with Nick Johnson:
1. What inspired you to pursue underwater photography?
Nick Johnson: I had become a diver and right away knew that I wanted to record what I saw. I wanted to share and present those subjects within the context of the diving experience
2. Do you feel there is any common thread between making a photograph and making music?
Nick Johnson: Searching is the most common thread in any of my art pursuits. I'm always looking for something new.. That personal growth is important to me. Sometimes we want to create a profound piece within the context of history, but to be satisfied in your personal process and searching is what counts toward art.
3. Do you have any future photography subjects or ideas you would like to try?
Nick Johnson: My photos have a feeling of portraiture to them and I would like to capture more examples of behavior in the whole aquatic biome. I would like to figure out ways to convey the amount of space and depth out there.
4. Have you ever considered using your photography as part of your music either in the performance or album materials(cover, etc.)?
Nick Johnson: Yes, I have a few shots of schooling fish that could work well. The single subject aspect of many of my photos is too narrow for a representation of a whole record. The schooling fish has aspects of repetition or looping which is a significant part of my music. I work with small variations in loops out of the John Cage school of thought when producing music.
5. Are there any photographers or musicians that you would consider big inspirations to your art?
David Doubilet is the pinnacle for underwater photography. http://www.daviddoubilet.com
He creates the experience of 'being of the underwater'. There are others like Roger Steene, Neville Coleman and Brian Skerry. My Dub Connections project was inspired by the 70's dub aesthetic with artists like Scientist and Lee Scratch Perry. My Monk Riot project is inspired by a fusion of 90's trip hop artists like DJ Food or Boards of Canada with Indian classical elements.
6. Which album do you think would make a great soundtrack to your photography if any?
Nick Johnson: The new record by Floating Points- 'Elaenia' has a cool track: Silhouettes. It has a dreamy busyness which sums up how the reef life feels. Then as I look into the pelagic areas of the ocean I hear Alvo Noto- Xerrox Vol. 3. It is very ambient and has moments of melodic awe in the track Xerrox Isola.
7. If some one wanted to pursue underwater photography what do you suggest they do first?
Nick Johnson: One would most likely need to learn bracketing, etc. Control in the water column is a big factor. Being steady without having to touch the reef is essential to eco system preservation.
You can Purchase Nick's music here:
Thanks for doing this interview Nick. Both your music and photography is extremely colorful and inspiring.
-Dave Rothschild 2016