Talking withJamie Johnson

  • Photographer: Candy Kennedy
Jamie Johnson
  • Photographer: Candy Kennedy
Jamie Johnson
  • Photographer: Candy Kennedy
Jamie Johnson
  • Photographer: Candy Kennedy
Jamie Johnson
  • Photographer: Candy Kennedy
Jamie Johnson
  • Photographer: Candy Kennedy
Jamie Johnson
  • Photographer: Candy Kennedy
Jamie Johnson

What’s your definition of a modern rebel?I’d say a rebel is somebody who is able to bring a certain level of creativity and originality to the work they’re doing. In terms of documentary filmmaking, the things I have tried to do have been incendiary, causing great conflict among a certain group of people traditionally opposed to talking about wealth, or any questioning of their place in society. My films force these people to come to terms with their privileges and background in a public context. There is a notion of meritocracy in American society, that people have to earn whatever they have, and my films really contradict this conventional viewpoint, showing that there is indeed a class system in America. I think there is something rebellious about that.What has been your most controversial or most rebellious moment, then?I think it was a film I made when I was younger, called Born Rich. Many people advised me not to make it, saying it was vulgar for someone of my background, born into privilege, to talk about money. I decided to make it anyway, and within New York society there was a reaction against it. Many people I approached and included in the film were upset about it in retrospect. They felt the film insulted everything they stood for. So I guess that was a rebellious act, because I was a young man and many people told me that I was shooting myself in the foot, that I was a fool to make that movie. But I did it anyway.Can we say that as a young artist your work was more rebel in its content, and now it’s more rebel in the form?Sure, I think there is something more inflammatory about the kind of documentary I was making initially, they were more apparently controversial issues I was bringing to the fore of a public conversation about wealth and social class. Now I’m dealing with more emotional and personal issues.

Jamie Johnson
EDITORIAL PROJECT SPONSORED BY HOGAN REBEL