Dispatches: Jeff Johnson

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Jeff Johnson is a writer, photographer, climber, surfer and filmmaker who is also a brand agent for Patagonia. In short, he’s created a very interesting life. Jeff is one of those guys who does more than should be allowed, and he does it well. He tells adventure stories by participating and then presenting them in a way that resonates with both his fellow adventurers as well as those of us who find adventure in simply managing a day-to-day life. I should have added “actor” to his resume because a few years ago he launched a film I’ve seen at least a half dozen times. Now this film was as production involving many,many people,including Chris Malloy but Jeff is front and center, and the film transcends sport, environment, history and changing realities of our fragile planet. Jeff and I actually did a project together, years ago, but never met, so this was our first face-to-face. Shortly after I completed this interview a friend called and asked who I had coming up next on Shifter. I mentioned Jeff’s name and what followed was a expletive laced rant about how fantastic Jeff and the Malloy brothers were and how they were simply making the best stuff out there. That seemed like a relatively good endorsement. Thanks Jeff, and it was great to finally meet.

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  1. Okay. That was awesome. Can’t believe I hadn’t heard this one.

    When I got into shooting for Surfer, I watched he and the Malloy brothers from afar. Their career trajectories were amazing to watch and to be honest, made me more than a little envious. What they’ve managed to create over the years in motion and stills has always been inspirational and will continue to be that way.

    I had always wanted to try for Surfer’s Journal but Divine intimidated the hell out of me. I never managed to get the strength to show up at their office in San Clemente. It’s definitely a regret.

    1. Sean,
      I had one spread in Surfer’s Journal. Jeff is a really fun guy. He is also living with one amazing archive. He’s been at it a long, long time. When I was in college, doing layouts with tracing paper and a t-square, I would rip off Surfer Magazine covers.

    2. While I never tried to design covers, I would spend hours drawing the perfect barrel. Granted, I was/am no Drew Brophy and probably couldn’t draw my way out of a wet paper bag. So, I did the next best thing and picked up a camera… 😉

  2. Dan,
    I finally got to listen to this episode and it was incredible to hear you guys talk photography, climbing and surfing and 180 degrees south as two seasoned photographers, as well as the cool and unusual career of Jeff. Please keep making these great podcasts!

    1. Michael,
      I think Jeff is one of the most envied photographers I’ve ever met. His role at Patagonia, his life, his work are things that everyone seems to want. Most importantly, at least in my mind, is that he is skilled as a climber, surfer, writer, etc. He can walk the walk.

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