Spike Johnson has seen his share of colorful characters through the lens of his camera ever since he graduated from the Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism.
He spent the last two years living in and around Dallas. He spent a year of that time immersing himself with a Texas civilian militia group and won a first place award in the process. He worked to offer an intimate insight into their training, motives and the impact their jobs had on their families.
The militia group welcomed him with open arms, allowing him to join in training exercises, inviting him to dinner and even to live with them. They taught him everything from assault rifle loading techniques, live round procedures, survival kits, home security, gunshot wound first aid and how to lose at sushi eating contests, all the necessary information one would need to know for Armageddon.
In August 2010, he worked on a long-term collaborative project with newspapers in Texas to document the impact of the controversial natural gas industry on communities in the state. He photographed toxic waste dumps, hundreds of acres of wrecked farmland and the drilling process itself.
In between these projects, he found time to work on a series of portraits of the notoriously media shy “fur suiters” – guys who dress in furry cartoon costumes and role-play in suburban hotel rooms. Needless to say, he wasn’t allowed behind the scenes.
Now, he’s based in a little smaller and a lot colder location: London, England. He’s swapped his jeep for the underground subway tube and his apartment pool for a downtown office.
He’s currently working on projects related to the London riots, asylum and migration in the United Kingdom and France as well as spending time with the residents of Dale Farm, the largest “illegal” gypsy camp in Europe.
Spike's work has earned him the first place Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-Depth Reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists 2012, a scholarship to attend the Foundry Photo Workshop 2012 in Chiang Mai, and second place for Multiple Picture Story in the NPPA's Monthly News Clip Contest 2012. And those are just a few of his honors.
See Spike's work on Dale Farm.
View Spike's portfolio here