PHOTOGRAPHER . TRAVELLER . APPLE JUICE LOVER . YOGI
Name: BRIAN CRAWFORD
Hometown: RED BANK, NEW JERSEY, USA
Current town: LAGUNA BEACH, CALIFORNIA, USA
Yoga practice style: EXPLORING THEM ALL
Website: briancrawfordphotography.com Instagram: @briancrawfordphotography
What's your story? I'm an international yoga photographer based out of Laguna Beach California. I was Raised in the East Bay Area in Northern California and went to high-school in Laguna Beach. After the fallout of employment in 2008 I started to work toward becoming a full time artist. Trying my hand first at DJ-ing, then producing music, I realized I have always had a passion for producing imagery with a camera.
I ended up moving back to Laguna beach from Los Angeles in 2009 and started snapping pics of the dynamic landscapes and stunning sunsets Laguna provided. The local newspaper started publishing my photos and soon hired me as a staff photographer. One day I was eating at my local health food stand with my friend Liz, who mentioned she had just finished her yoga teacher training. I decided it would be a rad idea to take her up into some of Laguna Beach's many caves and have my first photo-shoot with a yogi. The pics came out dope and soon after, I was hired at the studio Liz was teaching at to shoot their entire staff for their website. From there, I got myself on Instagram and soon fell passionately in love with the artistry of yoga photography.
Now my Full time job is to travel around the world working with incredibly talented and amazing human beings and for this I feel truly honored and extremely lucky.
How would you describe yourself? I am an artist, a nature lover, an introvert; I'm passionate, a good listener, I have great taste in Music; I am funny and don't mind nerding out on good talk about Aliens or technology.
How would others describe you? Down to earth, positive and easy going - with a good heart.
How would your mother describe you? My mom would say she is proud. I used to be on the wrong path but found sobriety, turned my life around and started following my dreams.
We’ve all got a few stories that we aren’t the most proud of, care to share one? I was once tasered by the police when I was in Northern California, drunk as hell off of Sierra Nevada beer. I was able to dodge the first taser gun that was fired at me but after superman-diving over the bar and making my way out the front of the pub the police caught me with a solid taser shot right above my eye. Being slammed to the ground, getting the shit electrocuted out of me for what seemed like ages was an experience that was shocking yet liberating. It sent me down a path of sobriety and I wouldn't be where I am today if it was for the steady long arm of the law!
What’s the best & worst job you ever had? The best and worst job I've had was at Trader Joe's. They put me in the freezer and I had to sit inside of it with a beanie and gloves freezing my ass off to stock the milk for hours. Seriously.
Fortunately for me, I was 18 years old and still drinking booze at the time. Unfortunately for Trader Joe's, they kept their healthy supply of imported beers chilling next to the milk crates I stocked every day in the freezer. Needless to say, the freezer seemed a little bit warmer after a couple of cold ones.
What’s the best & worst relationship you ever had? The best and worst relationship I've ever had was with a Go Go dancer when I lived in Hollywood and was partying like a rockstar (in my mind)! It was the best relationship because we got to party our asses off at all the clubs and raves together like best friends. It was the worst relationship because I quickly grew out of that party lifestyle and she didn’t…
Favourite meal? Thai food or sushi. I love spicy Thai food and I love raw sushi… Do I have to pick just one?
It’s too hard - I love them both equally!
Favourite drink? Favorite drink is apple juice with crushed iced. It's a comfort drink for me - reminds me of being a kid.
What is one fact that most other people wouldn’t know about you? It's been over 3 1/2 years since I've had a sip of beer or any mind-altering substance.
If you could do it all again, what would you change? That's a hard question because if I had changed just one thing my whole present situation could be completely different. But I guess I would have tried to be a better son and not put my parents through so much turmoil when I was going through my ‘crazy youth’ stage.
Any regrets? No regrets.
Ok, let’s talk about yoga, how’d you get into it? I hurt my back over a year ago bending over doing a simple stretch after lifting some weights at the gym. I immediately fell to the ground in excruciating pain. I couldn't move and was sent to the hospital. After several weeks of physical therapy I realised a lot of the techniques were very similar to many of the different yoga postures I’d seen. That’s when I decided to take my yoga practice seriously.
Do you teach? No, I don't teach, but sometimes feel like I am a bit of an instructor while I'm working with my yogi clients because I'm always directing their form for the camera!
What was the biggest challenge when you first started? My tight hamstrings. And It's a daily struggle.
Why do you keep coming back? I keep coming back because of the physical relief from back pain I get after finishing my practice, not to mention the spiritual connection you get with yourself through breath and meditation. Yoga is everything I want and need in my life to be healthy physically, mentally and spiritually.
Best yoga story? One time on a yoga shoot, this little old Korean lady followed right behind me on my entire shoot and was snapping pics of my model, constantly, right behind my back. It was annoying and cute at the same time. I don't usually tolerate when other photographers are snapping my model but she was such a cute old lady I felt bad to tell her that this was a professional shoot with a paying client! Unfortunately for the little old lady, a giant wave came up from behind and smashed into her. She (and her camera) got completely soaked but she got some really great shots of an incredible yoga model that day.
Most embarrassing one? Some of my shoots are done out on the rocks near the crashing waves. On one occasion I thought it would be a good idea to push the limits and go out onto a rocky peninsula. Bad idea; a giant wave came up and crashed into both my yoga model and me, sending us both crashing down onto the jagged rocks. I had to hold my camera up above the water so, unable to swim away properly, my leg got all bloody and battered. Luckily, the yogi only had a few scrapes and bruises but the onlookers from the beach definitely got a good show that evening, which was quite embarrassing.
What’s the biggest challenge or issue being a guy who teaches/practices yoga? I would say the biggest challenge is the stigma behind men doing yoga. Most guys think it's a feminine thing to practice yoga. It’s not, by the way.
What’s your favourite pose? Eagle pose (garudasana) and tree pose (vrksasana)
What pose do you fucking hate? Warrior 3 (virabhadrasana)
Yoga is: An awesome spiritual path with a wonderful community.
Your quote or mantra: I’ve learned in my short 32 years of life that it’s the simplest of life's occurrences that are the most sacred to my soul; the first birds chirping at dawn, the smell of honeysuckles, or even the small drops of dew covering a field of grass in the morning can enlighten my spirit. These recurring gifts of life resonate with my heart . I smell those budding roses and enjoy the ordinary, yet mystical moments of life. I am lucky.
Interviewed: July 6th, 2015
Photos by @michaeljameswong and property of BOYS OF YOGA Ltd.