FIND OUT WHY JOHN ARTHUR BROWN IS MORE THAN A PHOTOGRAPHER
John Arthur Brown is a freelance photographer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He currently has a contract with Zuma Press, but since buying his first DSLR in 2014, he sees street photography as his roots. Brown took his first international trip to photograph Peru in 2018, and since then went on assignment with PWB and Honduras Child Alliance, a space focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through free education. When not travelling or wandering in the name of photography, Brown spends his time dabbling in poetry, playing the drums and driving ‘The Turnip Truck’ delivering fresh, local produce to restaurants.
PWB recently sat down with Brown to talk about the evolution of his storytelling through photography.
PWB: What makes you more than a photographer?
John Arthur Brown: For me, it starts with acknowledging and knowing that I am a photographer, I am an image-maker. If the photos reveal information about something that someone didn’t know, then I am that bringer of information. It starts with solid images and where the images go beyond that, that’s where I go as the photographer. The impact that the photos make beyond them just being photos is what makes me more than a photographer.
PWB: How has your work as a photographer connected you to your community? To the world?
JAB: Photography itself means I connect with people in the community, just by being present and there with the camera.
It’s kind of like a passport. You get to that point where your camera and your photography skills are that passport - people are going to let you into their lives in a certain way.
[Photography] bridges the gap between you and these communities - because you have this tool, you have this skill and people are going to allow you that much closer to them and what they do because they know it’s going to be seen later on in life.
PWB: What drew you to street photography? In your five years, what have been the challenges of capturing candid moments?
JAB: Even before I got into photography, my favourite photos were always candid - of people just kind of being caught in the moment or really being in the element of what it is they’re doing. When I found out street photography was a genre, I just became a photographer, and that was it. I was taking my camera out every day on the streets of Atlanta and just taking photos, and then it evolved into a more documentary style.
PWB: What does storytelling mean to you?
JAB: Storytelling represents evolution and responsibility. For me, the storytelling aspect of photography is the progression from learning the skill of it and practicing, to knowing there is an intent that comes with it now.
Whatever information that the photograph has- you’re responsible for that information, and if it tells a story about people, we’re responsible for telling that story in a way that does justice to the situation. If the photos can tell a story, then I’m a storyteller.