Photographer John Lawlor produces bold images with an impact bigger than life. Enjoy his distinctive style of art and find more by visiting his website.
As I reflect on my twenty-five-year photography career, I realize that luck played a significant role. I probably should have been nicknamed “Lucky Lawlor.” I was lucky to have many people who encouraged my early development like Pete Turner, my first photographer crush. Pete mentored me during my years at his alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology, and right through my early years as a professional.
Lucky that I had solid technical skills that were highly valued by advertising agencies looking for creative photographers who could consistently deliver results. Lucky that I’d trained with some of New York’s top ad photographers before launching my solo career.
Lucky that I was discovered by a top European photo agent and brought to London at age 22. I was based there for five globe-trotting, ad producing years. London in the late 60s: home to the Beatles, the Stones, great Indian food… and hot mini-skirted models!
At 27, I was enticed back to New York City by higher fees, bigger shoots and budgets. My agents kept my lucky streak going for 5+ years when I decided to move to Los Angeles, hoping to get lucky in the movie business. My big director break never happened. But, as luck would have it, my print business exploded over the next 12 years with larger and more exciting location shoots including:
- Two weeks in Bermuda and New York City shooting from sea and air a tall ship for American Express
- 10 days shooting the Merrill Lynch bull in rural Texas and downtown Houston that resulted in my photos running across 31 pages in Fortune magazine
- 6+ years of producing hundreds of ads and billboards across the West for Marlboro US and UK. Imagine shooting for over 40 days in Monument Valley – spectacular scenery but horrible food!
- Photographing hundreds of horses for dozens of clients as well as my own enjoyment, especially horses running in water. My favorite horse shoot happened after dark, using helicopter search lights to backlight the horses.
After 25 years and 20,000+ rolls of Kodachrome, I decided the Golden Age of Advertising photography was ending. It was time to retire my Nikons.
Shortly after, a major earthquake rendered our home uninhabitable. We moved to Florida where I developed a series of internet-related businesses for the next 20+ years.
During the pandemic, I hauled out dozens of storage boxes. I started digitizing my photo library as well as experimenting with Photoshop’s amazing capabilities. Luck would strike again when I discovered that my experiments made photography fun again.
For the past 18 months I’ve been engrossed in a journey of discovery enabled by my growing Photoshop skills. Every day I discover new images emerging from old photos! What fun!
I hope that luck is back on my side and that you like the images that result from my journey of reimaging my photos from 60s, 70s, and 80s. They were the golden age of advertising photography.