Joey Lawrence

Joey L link image

JoeyL, as he is apparently known, is a wunderkind photographer whom I have been following a bit since he appeared on Strobist (the post is here). He specializes in band photography, and definitely has an edgy, gritty, and urban look. The photo I have linking to him has really stuck in my mind since I saw it on the Strobist post, and it makes me think of some kind of future archaeologist, penetrating some forgotten relic of industrial civilization. Only after I referred to it as the ‘faux-archaeologist picture’ in the email I sent him (see below) did I stop to think that I was entirely bringing that to the photo–which is definitely in its favour–there is great energy that allows the viewer to bring their own ideas to play. His site is at

The reason that I thought of him this week is that he has posted a new series of work on the people of the Omo Valley region of Ethiopia (misleadingly titled ‘Abyssinia,’ despite being of low-land Ethiopians–I sent a correcting email–I should have mentioned the false etymology, too). (I can’t link it, as his site is one of those annoying all-flash contraptions, but if you go to his site, click on Personal> Abyssinia.) I can’t say that I really like the set, as the way he has set up and processed many of these shots, they look to me like they could have been shot in a studio, in front of a drop-cloth (even though I have been to many of these places), but there are some real gems in there–worth a look.

He says in his blog, where he writes about his experience in Ethiopia (the specific posts are here and here and here) that he was specifically going for a very posed/directed style, which is just as well in the Omo region, as the cash-economy in photography, in addition to its other deleterious effects, makes documentary-style photography basically impossible in the region (which is why Don McCullin In Africa has that posed, 19th-century look to it). Interesting to read–I found it amusing that he ended up talking to the same pushy car agent that we did (thanks to a travel-savvy Italian, we actually got a good car and deal out off him, but only after rejecting a few).

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