Our Conversation with Photographer, John Canon


What inspired you to become a photographer? I'm a very observant person and when I see things in real life, I see them as photos. I see things just as footage period, I don't know why but that's what makes me a photographer.

What's the story behind your favorite photograph? My favorite photograph was a photo from the first time I went to the studio with 21 Savage and someone brought him a gun they just bought. He was holding it throughout the studio as if he was shooting, but he really wasn't. It's my favorite photo because that was my first time being in the studio with him, and having my own perception with him as an artist was surreal. 

Why is photography important to you / the world? I feel like it's visual documentation that we need. It will last forever. It can't be deleted. If something historic happens you can't really see it without photo or video footage. You can only tell someone about it.

What motivates you to keep creating? Where I'm from. Being from Indianapolis, a lot of people don't make it out doing anything as big as I've been able to do. I take that as a blessing and it makes me go harder just to show people that there is talent there, you just have to put the time in. 

What sets you or your work apart from other photographers? Dedication. I've always been a hard worker, with anything, but when it comes to photography and working with clients, I just want to leave an impression on them that they wouldn't have gotten this service if they were working with anyone else.

Are you school taught or self taught, and how did that shape you? I'm majority self taught. I started out with video, but I applied everything I learned about video in high school to photography. The more technical stuff I taught myself, it shaped me to be a better photographer. I got to where I wanted to be a lot faster. Me teaching myself sped up the process of  accomplishing my  goals.

What is your biggest career goal? Eventually I want to start shooting a lot of album and magazine covers. Where I am now as far as being a personal photographer for an artist, I feel like that's helping me build connections along the way and I'm able to be places I wouldn't have been if I wasn't a personal photographer. 

How did your career lead up to photographing 21 Savage? I was going to school in Chicago, and Travis, Metro, and Young Thug came on tour. I went to RSVP for their pop up shop, and one of my friends went up to Cam Kirk and told him I did video, and Cam gave me a media pass to the concert. At that point, I hadn't even shot a concert or artist before. That was my first concert ever and I really liked it. I didn't know I would like it that much. When I took the video footage home, my computer was moving slow and it kept freezing; but it was freezing on images that looked like photos. So I was screen shotting them and putting them online like they were photos, and people thought they were photos. I ran with it because they liked the photos more than the videos. My school wasn't able to afford my major anymore, so I went home and then that led me to Atlanta. When I got back to Atlanta, I got a media pass to an Uzi and Carti show and they brought out 21 Savage. I posted the photos I took of 21 Savage, and his manager saw them and reached out to me.

Favorite subject you've shot? I like shooting behind the scenes photos of video shoots. People gravitate towards those images because they can relate - they've either seen the video or know it will be in a video.

What was one of your favorite moments photographing 21?  Savage Mode Release party. I could see his whole team was so happy and they understood what that project was going to be. I wasn't there for the whole process of the album. I was there for some of it, but it was cool to see the hard work and be there at the party and see people appreciate it before it was really out. 

Cameron Kirkland