J Gerald Crawford

J Gerald Crawford
J Gerald Crawford

The Artistic Impressions of J Gerald Crawford

J Gerald Crawford possesses the eye of an artist and the instincts of a photojournalist. He served for three decades as chief photographer for Southern Living Magazine and B.A.S.S. publications, traveling the backcountry of America in search of landscapes and portraits that portrayed the life and times of both rural and urban America.

Crawford has finally settled down to create the kind of artistic impressions that he always wanted to showcase with his photographic talents. He knows that a lot of great photographers have the patience and foresight to prepare for a shot long before it actually comes into view through the lens of camera.

They select the scene. They wait and watch the angle of the sun as it passes from sunrise to sunset. They set up far in advance, sometimes days in advance. They know the exact time when the sun is hanging just right in the sky to catch the shadows and sun rays falling across the landscape. If the sun is right, and the clouds aren’t, they wait for another day. “It is,” Crawford says, “an artistic collision of time, patience, and circumstance.”

J Gerald Crawford is an entirely different kind of photographer.

He shoots from the hip.

He relies on his instincts.

He works hard to capture the moment as he sees it unexpectedly unfolding before his eyes. He may be driving along the rim of the Grand Canyon, darting across the lake in a bass boat, hiking the desert of the Big Bend, or following the tide as it washes ashore the spun sugar sands of a Florida beach.

His eyes see the picture at the exact moment it happens.

He captures the moment, not merely the photograph. It is a frozen second in time that came and may never come his way again.

He has one chance.

And he takes it.

Crawford works at a frantic pace.

Second chances are rare indeed.

He knows the show ends as quickly as it begins. The shadows on the sand. The sun flooding a mountaintop. Silver lace in a cloud.  A sudden play of lightning above the treetops. The giant leap of a white-capped wave against the rocks. The purple of darkness touching the far end of the lake.

Within a minute or two, it may disappear.

Crawford shoots it now.

Or he regrets it the rest of his life.

Then in the solitude of his studio, he begins to interpret the image and the moment with a cacophony of array of color and shapes. His desire is for others to see the same passion and drama that gripped him when he raised the lens of his camera.

The photographs do not always illuminate the actual scene he saw. The photographs reflect the way he felt when he saw the scene unfolding before him.


Click over to watch the story about J. Gerald Crawford’s photography and how it got him into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame.