Five Questions with Johnson City photographer Parker Bohon, whose photos have been featured by Tennessee's Tourism Department

Jonathan Roberts • May 27, 2019 at 9:04 PM

After more than three decades of life and nearly a decade traveling the country — and the world, meeting his wife in Australia at Thredbo Ski Resort — working in the ski industry, Parker Bohon decided it was time for a change.

Having always been fascinated with photography, even picking up his father’s old Nikkormat FT when he was young — his first camera — Bohon worked his passion for photography into his work as a terrain builder in 2012 before committing to professional photography in 2015. While his style ranges from portraits, landscapes and cityscapes, street photography is his style of choice.

A Johnson City native, Bohon graduated from Science Hill High School and East Tennessee State University, graduating with the class of 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and a minor in Marketing. Bohon, 35, now works as a photographer and as a distributor for Scag Power Equipment Southeast and lives with his wife and child where they frequent Founders Park, enjoying the more relaxed- paced lifestyle Johnson City provides.

Bohon Briefly:

Favorite camera right now: Cellphone, it “opens up so many possibilities because it’s in your pocket ... application is everything”

One city you want to shoot in: Charlotte, North Carolina

Dream camera: Leica M10

Favorite restaurant in Johnson City: Yee-Haw/White Duck Taco for two reasons: Mimi’s and bartender Jesse Lewis

One lens to use forever: Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2

What got you into photography?

I always loved photography as a kid. The program that I managed at Bachelor (Mountain in Bend, Oregon) didn’t have the budget for a photographer and the marketing team needs content, so, in 2012, I thought ‘well, I can do this’ so I got the budget to purchase a Canon 60D and I took pictures of everything. So, that’s how I got into the professional aspect of photography, the personal aspect of it has always been ‘pick up the camera and take a walk.’ I’ve always been curious about the street aspect of it and trying to create something naturally.

You recently started to get more into street photography. Why is that?

I’ve always had a fascination with street photography, but Sam (Watson, the Johnson City Press’ content director) dropped some knowledge on me with respects to just the rights of being a photographer in public. I’d actually inquired about a photo my child was in and he, very professionally, politely and thoroughly, explained to me the rights a street photographer has and it was very interesting — it floored me. It really turned this thing I was passionate about doing and really molded me into this individual who’s focused on trying to create art that’s a different perspective of Johnson City or the city I’m in.

What’s your favorite style of photography?

My style has just gone everywhere and you can kind of see it change when I got hired by the Fouled Anchor to do some of their products because they were looking for stuff that was more artsy and that was the catalyst toward pursuing stuff that is doing what I’m doing now. The style has morphed into really trying to do street photography, but this biggest piece is black and white photography.

What’s your favorite photo you’ve ever taken?

There’s a shot I have on the roof of the Bristol Motor Speedway during the “Battle at Bristol” and (Johnson City Press Sports Director) Joe Avento gave me one job: to get on top of the roof and take a picture for the paper when the fireworks go off and I was like “Yes, this is right up my alley!” To do the first “Battle at Bristol” was a special moment.

What’s your advice to somebody who’s just starting in photography or maybe feels Johnson City is too small to be a good photographer?

Go take pictures. Just go make photos. One of the best things I can do for myself on a daily basis is to take 20 minutes during the day, bring your camera and take a walk. It’s all about perspective. If you can manipulate that, you’ll produce great stuff.

You can find Parker’s work on Instagram (@parkerbohonphoto), Facebook (@ParkerBohonPhotography), on his website, parkerbohonphotography.com, and hanging near the bar at the Atlantic Ale House.

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