Speaking about winning the award, Eric says: “It’s super surreal being the first recipient of the Abbey Road Studios Music Photography ICON Award. I’m super low-key by nature and through all of these years it never dawned on me that after taking all of these pics that ultimately it would all come back to me. That people would be curious about me. I kinda knew that my photos would stand the test of time but being considered an ICON wasn’t anything I really thought about. Wow!!! I’m into it."
"Having such a diverse group of talented artists recognise my work is really what it’s all about. This is a curious industry we’re in. It’s been like a rollercoaster ride & this acknowledgement is such a high. It makes me feel like ‘Wow, I’ve really been right & onto something from the beginning & people are really recognising this. It’s AWESOME & inspires me to keep pushing even more. I wanna keep creating imagery that the culture really feels.
I hope this all inspires emerging talents to try & stay as true to yourself as possible. There’s potentially something great just around the corner. Don’t sweat the industry like that. Keep working on your craft.”
Eric Johnson is a photographer raised in Newark, New Jersey, who is now based in New York City. Through his work, he embraces the soul of New York, bringing together young and old, black and white, natives and immigrants from all walks of life, as a community. Johnson, whose archive goes back more than 30 years has had work published in the likes of Vogue, Dazed & Confused, The Face, W, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Interview Magazine and 032c. He has photographed luminaries ranging from Muhammad Ali and Floyd Mayweather to Peter Bogdanovich and Jim Jarmusch but he is best known for his work documenting the US music culture of the late ‘90s and early 2000s. His photos of Biggie Smalls, Nas, Missy Elliott, Lauryn Hill and the late Aaliyah defined an era of US music photography. His more recent work with the likes of Doja Cat and MPAs judge Shygirl places him at the heart of contemporary pop music culture in 2022.
Speaking about the selection of Eric as this year’s winner of the Icon Award, Abbey Road’s Managing Director Isabel Garvey says: “The judging panel wanted the recipient of our first MPAs ‘Icon Award’ to be a photographer whose impact and contribution to the art of music photography has been pronounced and unparalleled and we have no doubt that Eric meets these criteria.
We’re delighted that Eric has accepted the award as his work throughout his career to date has been some of the most vital and memorable in music photography.”