NASHVILLE SINCE 2007
“I was always a fan of watching music videos growing up,” photographer and videographer Jeff Johnson shares. “I was like man, I want to do that one day, I think that would be cool.” Now, Jeff tours full time with Chris Young and when he’s not on the road, directs music videos, documentaries, and beyond. “I’ve kind of got my hands in everything,” he says.
Jeff grew up in the music business in Los Angeles. “It’s been in my blood since I was born,” he says. “I’m a big music fan. I play guitar, a little bit of drums and bass … being able to marry the two, film and music, together, has just always been my thing. I love that.”
He began to hit the road, documenting artists’ tours. “Photography came to me more when I was out on the road with an artist,” he says. “They’d be like, ‘Hey, I know you’re doing video, but can you fire off a couple photos too?’”
It was a gig with Keith Urban that brought the Californian to Nashville. “I was traveling with him doing videography and photography for him on the road, and I had nothing holding me in California, so I was like, screw it, I’m gonna move to Tennessee,” he says. “I’ve been here ever since. It was the best move I could have ever made.”
Now, Jeff splits his time the way many artists do: traveling on tour on the weekends, usually with Chris Young or Carrie Underwood, and working during the week. “It’s kind of like a day job, I love doing that,” he says of touring, “but then I love coming home, directing music videos, directing documentaries, and just doing social content.”
“I just have a passion for it,” he continues. “Whenever I work for an artist it’s not just for me, it’s more for the artist; it’s their imaging, it’s their music video, that’s what lives with them for the rest of their career.”
For Jeff, each project is a new challenge, opportunity to be creative, and opportunity to improve. “Whether it’s Chris, Carrie or a brand new artist, I just want to stay creative and just always be on the edge of what can be better,” he says. From Chris Young’s “Hangin’ On” to Chase Bryant’s Bond-themed “Room to Breathe,” Jeff is doing just that. He also has an eye towards concert film and a full-length movie down the road.
“I love what I do,” he says. “The great thing about photography and video … you could go so many different directions with so many things. It’s not just the same thing all the time. You could be as creative as you want, and that’s what keeps me going.”