Meet Photographer Corbin Craft

A NoHo Arts chat with photographer Corbin Craft.
A NoHo Arts chat with photographer Corbin Craft.

[NoHo Arts District, CA] – A NoHo Arts chat with photographer Corbin Craft.

The NoHo Arts District is just one-square mile but what we do in this one-square mile makes us a vibrant and creative neighborhood. TeaPop has not only created a happy and tranquil spot with delish tea and treats, but they’ve also opened their walls to local visual artists. This month, Corbin Craft is showcasing his photos, and we asked him some questions so we all can get to know him a bit better.

Afterall, the NoHo motto really should be:

“NoHo is only as great as its people!”

A NoHo Arts chat with photographer Corbin Craft.

How did you start your morning coffee walk shoots?

I began taking long walks early in the pandemic, sometimes hours at a time just wandering around beyond North Hollywood in every direction. I was just trying to give myself a break from the forced surroundings of my apartment and life, and getting to know the neighborhoods became addictive to me. I wanted to see it all and revisit blocks over and over again, so my walks got longer. But I didn’t shoot anything until I visited my sister for our birthdays in 2021, which are a week apart. She’s a painter in Tucson, and we hadn’t seen each other in years. We walked around her neighborhood and to and from Downtown Tucson while catching up. The flood of new sights, plus how clear the light is there compared to LA, was such a visual rush that I started taking pictures. I had only seen North Hollywood since late 2019, and luckily my enthusiasm carried over when I returned. Now it’s my favorite thing to do. I always want to see how the light looks outside today. 

Do you have a favorite image (s)?

I don’t know if I have a single favorite, but I remember feeling really excited after taking this one with the moon and back of the billboard with the ladder. I don’t always know when I’ve taken a good shot, but this one felt right immediately. It could have been the coffee. But the billboard and moon together feel almost like an illustration from a weird children’s book set in NoHo.

What’s your training? 

My dad was a hobby photographer and really loved it, and we grew up looking at slideshows from family vacations and visits a lot. I just went through them again on a recent visit home, and it’s weird and heartening to see how much my eye is like his. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2018 and now has trouble speaking full sentences, so images — either from the past or seeing the same sights when I go on walks with him during visits — have become our way to connect with one another. I learned the fundamentals while studying filmmaking at a liberal arts college, and it became a hobby/freelance gig of my own after college for a while that I dropped until that visit to my sister’s. 

Do you have a favorite artist?

Photography-wise, so many of the people I love working today are standing on the shoulders of William Eggleston. It also might sound corny to say I love Van Gogh, but I obviously relate to feeling fascinated by what I see on my daily walks. And nobody represented the valley better than Brody Stevens. 

What do you like most about living in NoHo?

The sunsets are pretty great throughout LA overall, but there is something unique and striking about the chaos of the valley streets and many architecture styles stacked in any one given block set against the light going down over the hills. It’s such a good clash.

What would you like to see more of?

I’d love to see more community based film screenings, lectures/interviews, or live performances taking advantage of the many cool spaces around NoHo. I don’t know them or anything, but when I saw the Shoebox Comedy show in NoHo last year I was really impressed by how much enthusiasm they had built for their monthly show. I think people are hungry to engage with that kind of stuff in their neighborhoods. 

Is there something you’d like to highlight?

This showing at Teapop is the main thing right now, and that truly came out of my love for the game of just shooting as often as I could. I’m taking anything I make from these prints at the showing to learn how to shoot film photography with my dad’s old film cameras next year. I want to keep improving and experimenting with my eye, and most of what I shoot on a daily basis ends up at @corborbin on Instagram. 

Roger Ebert wrote about how he loved revisiting the same places again and again, and I think he kind of incepted me with that notion. Going on a walk allows me to feel more at home in a place because it’s like I’m checking in on the neighborhood and seeing all my favorite sights in a new light and time. I think that’s been good for my brain. 

Let’s support local NoHo businesses that help to #KeepNoHoArtsy.

Teapop – 5050 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Lisa Bianconi
Author: Lisa Bianconi

Editor of www.nohoartsdistrict.com