After a few years of photographing mostly professional talent, Cory Johnson and Neil Kremer developed a desire to tell real stories. While navigating the freeways and crowded streets of Los Angeles, the duo decided that the people of LA were the story that they knew best and that the diverse population was what made them most proud to call themselves Angelenos.
Johnson and Kremer started listing different stereotypes associated with LA and the list quickly became too long and unmanageable. Searching for a more organic approach, they decided to place an advertisement on Craigslist that read:
“Portrait photographer seeking subjects. Looking for interesting people to photograph…all shapes, races, genders, and sizes are welcome. I will come to you at your convenience.”
The ad ran four times in LA and once in San Francisco, generating between 70 and 100 responses each time. In a follow-up note, the duo explained they were looking to match each subject with a place that fits their character, asking, “Where do you suggest that I photograph you? If you don’t have a place that works, please give me cross streets close to you. I can then search for a location that will work.”
To date, 59 people have been photographed, and Kremer Johnson plans to photograph 100 in total.
During the day, Craigslist Encounters can be viewed on monitors inside the ICP Museum and during evening hours, images are literally “projected” onto the windows of the ICP Museum; they can be viewed from the sidewalk outside the Museum and are most visible after sunset.
About the Artists
Cory Johnson and Neil Kremer form Kremer Johnson.
Johnson comes from the film industry, where he produced feature films and ran his own post-production company until 2010. He’s from Iowa and he still has some of that nice guy charm that you only find in Iowa. Kremer is from Rochester, New York, where he was born, raised, and left after college in 1993. After trying the Midwest and Rocky Mountains, he decided that California was the place he wanted to be. He’s been there since 2001 and he’s not leaving. Kremer’s background is in product design and marketing.
Both Johnson and Kremer faced career changes when the economy crashed and decided to try something they both loved. Character-based portraits and narrative-driven scenes have been their focus since they first picked up cameras in 2011. True collaborators at heart, they formed Kremer Johnson to explore their combined creative vision. They share in all duties from ideation and pre-production through shooting and post-production.