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LONDON - PHOTOGRAPHER JONNIE CRAIG TALKS, TOO

February 26, 2009, 2:40pm


That earnest son-of-a-gun photographer Jonnie Craig is having his first solo show in London this weekend, which you probably can't go to since it's thousands of miles away. But you can read this interview with him about his early work with us (he's the kid who shot his friends streaking in Buckingham Fountain) and then buy his book.

Vice: We met when you were 18 after Ryan McGinley recommended you.
Jonnie Craig: Yeah, and the first thing I did was shoot the Black Lips at the bar.

And then it was the Streaking In The City thing for the magazine.
Yeah, that was the first complete shoot, the first editorial ever. I was so stressed out about that. I remember sitting in the office with people who I'm close to scared of saying anything to, for fear of being harshly judged and you are there like, "So I think you should go to Piccadilly Circus and get one of your friends to stand naked in the fountain." I was like, "I can't do this... But I can't say no."

I didn't sense that at all from you.
It was like 10 million times out of what I would have called a comfort zone.

But you just thought "Fuck it".
Yeah.

Comfort zones are the death of life.
I saw it as a chance to do something and and it ended up being one of the most fun nights of my life.

I like how it turned out a lot and how you just kept taking this gang of nude kids around the West End every night until you got something good. I'm sick of all these kids pitching photos and not wanting to have fun or do something out of the ordinary.
I learnt quite a lot after that shoot.

Like what?
I learned more about people and my friends. And meeting Graham, the homeless guy who got naked with us and ran around the West End with us, that was fun.

Looks it. How many of these books are you doing?
There will be 750, all hand numbered.

And what is the purpose of this book? Is it to become a millionaire? Because this idea of selling them at £250,000 a pop seems quite expensive. You should consider lowering the price.
I'm in talks of upping it. I feel it's just slightly too cheap.

The higher you price something, the more it's worth to people. It's a good tactic. Especially with "art".
Yeah that's what I hear. It's called something like "high art" these days.

It's impossible to say anything about "being high" without sounding like a dick.
It's near impossible to say anything without sounding like a dick.

ANDY CAPPER