Remember when everyone freaked out about what would happen when the Y2K was going to come? Everyone said that all computers were going to deactivate, but then after we survived the Y2K change the technology actually got much better? Hmmm. Anyways, all was swell in the Coachella Valley until recently when another threat similar to the Y2K rumored around again. This new threat has been scene only within the past couple years, more recently now than ever, at all the popular desert parties. It’s pointing heavy machinery that flashes bright lights in your face. It’s a different kind of threat, but the intensity from the light is enough to send one into that old school Y2K panic attack mode again. But no need to fear, we are no longer approaching the Y2K, we’ve overcame that, we are now approaching the year of 5K. The year of 5000 Photography, that is. A camera can be a very powerful tool and Johnny of 5000 Photography is using it to document the Coachella Valley’s art scene one party at a time. Without further ado, I present to you, that mysterious man behind the machine: Johnny of 5000 Photography.
Astrological sign? Scorpio (unfortunately.)
Where were you born? Raised? Here in the valley all my life, Cathedral City to be exact.
How do you feel the area in which you were raised effected/influenced you as an artist? Living in this valley I’ve always felt out of place and a bit different, so I tried to stay away from what the crowds were doing. I didn’t want to be a part of any of the local scenes. Ive was very independent and even closed off until recently. I want to reach out and work with everyone here in the valley. This desert has changed so much its incredible to see the potential we have as a community.
What is it like to be a young artist in the Coachella Valley? It is definitely a lot easier to be seen and noticed than it was even 2 years ago. This valley has taken a much stronger interest music and art. There are much more outlets to express yourself and be heard which is great.
What inspired you to go into photography? I remember just walking around my neighborhood and seeing things that I thought just stood out, I felt like no one else saw them. I wanted to document them, then I realized the more I photographed the better I saw everything around me. The better I saw things around me the better I could look at myself. So it has only perpetuated itself and helped me grow into the person and photographer I want to be. “Inspiration comes from many sources” so I keep my eyes wide open and my mind occupied with the intent to create. Other than that music, friends, family, having no money and bad habits.
Who are your biggest influences? David LaChapelle, Edward Stiechen, Stephen Wilkes, Frank Gehry, Michel Gondry, Danny Boyle, Howard Zinn, Thom York, Diane Arbus, just to name a few.
What is the difference between your portrait work and your concert/party photo work? And which do you prefer…if you have a preference? When I photograph concerts Im trying to capture what I feel and hear, if I am successful than the viewer can feel it too. Photographing a portrait is a completely different feeling. Im not a very social person but I have forced myself to get away from that part of my personality in order to meet new people and create something with complete strangers. I am much more familiar those uncomfortable feelings so they have become a lot easier for me to work with. It’s all a part of growing as a person.
What type of equipment/photo editing programs do you use? I have a Canon XSN 35mm, Nikon Coolpix 3200, Polaroid One Step and Spectra, and a Nikon D70. Im also running Photoshop CS on Mac OSX (I try to keep my photoshot to a minimum).
Who are some of the most interesting people you have photographed? I remember meeting Greg Gillis aka Girltalk at the Riverside Heat Festival and asking him for a photograph. He seemed very down to earth then posed for me but looked so scared almost like a little kid. I was thinking he just performed in front of six thousand people but my camera seemed to make him feel uncomfortable, I wasn’t sure what to think.
Which shows have been your favorite to capture? It’s actually really hard to say, music has such different feelings and emotions, I would be missing out if I stuck to one genre. I love the energy and unity of punk/ska shows. The vibes of dancing kids at the local indie shows is incredible. Having the chance to photographing my favorite rappers like Del the funky homosapien and Josh Martinez was just completely satisfying.
Who/what do you want/wish to photograph? I think it would be interesting to shoot for a magazine like Fader, URB, and Skyscraper. I just want to be able to meet interesting people and take their photographs.
What projects are you currently working on? I have a few projects coming up that are mostly portraits and commercial work, it should be interesting. I have a website in the works, a new photo blogspot with the photos I take throughout the week. I hope to start making music again and maybe get back into making films. Im just getting started.
Where can we contact you and/or check out your art? www.myspace.com/fivethousandphotography , modelmayhem.com/fivethousandphotography , ivethousandphotography.blogspot.com , fivethousandphotography.com
Any advice for aspiring photographers in the Coachella Valley? Just keep photographing! Take your camera everywhere go and just keep shooting! Don’t let scenesters, artist, instructors or other photographers give you shit.
(bottom) Del Tha Funky Homosapien