Journeys to Sacred Places

Jasper Johal

Birds flock around a boatJasper Johal is a professional photographer living in Venice Beach, near Los Angeles, California. He is the leading photographer for the yoga industry.

Jasper was born and raised in a small town in central India. When he was thirteen, he ran into a Persian man traveling through his town who had spent all his money and was looking to sell a camera. Jasper agreed to help out the guy and purchased his camera, no doubt giving him way more Rupees than the beat up camera was worth.

Armed with this all manual twin-lens-reflex camera called Lubitel 2, a cheap Russian knock off of the venerated Rolliflex (you can still see it offered sometimes through mail order in the back of photography magazines for twenty five dollars) Jasper proceeded to teach himself photography. His town was too small to even have a film processing lab. So he hunted down books, mixed his own chemicals, and much to his mother's consternation set up a smelly lab in his bedroom.

Jasper's comfortable middle class world crashed when his father's health deteriorated and their business was swindled out from under them by unscrupulous relatives. Looking to make a fresh start, Jasper decided with his family to move to the US. "Like countless immigrants before me, I arrived with thirty six dollars in my pocket, a family of six, none of whom spoke English besides me, but big dreams of making it," laughs Jasper, reminiscing about his humble start. "I was nineteen at the time, which is an excellent age to try something this foolhardy."

From those humble beginnings, Jasper has developed a successful photography business in Los Angeles where he serves advertising and editorial clients. While best known in the fine art world for his black and white nudes of yogis and dancers, Jasper displays a surprising range in his commercial photography.  His yoga, celebrity, and life style photographs have appeared on dozens of magazine covers. He has provided photography for over forty movie posters and video packages. In the music industry, his photography and design can be seen in a dozen CD albums. His architecture photography has appeared on the cover of the prestigious "Architectural Record" magazine. He has photographed the culinary creations of world renowned chefs such as Eric Tucker of Millennium, Suzanne Goin of Lucques, Ben Ford of  Ford’s Filling Station, and numerous others.  His full-page fashion ads for Hard Tail Clothing appear in magazines every month.

At the top tiers of photography, specialization is the norm. It is very unusual for a photographer to do high profile work in such diverse fields. When asked about it Jasper says, "Whether shooting a small piece of jewelry for Energy Muse, or the spacious award winning Jai House for architect Lorcan O'Herlihy, what I am really shooting is light. Light is this beautiful living thing. It wraps, it plays, it suffuses, it cascades. I am self taught, and as I worked on my craft over the years, I never focused on shooting the object. Instead, I focused on capturing the beauty of light as it played around the object, often through the object, sometimes underneath the object. Light dances, and as a photographer I become its dance partner."

For more information about Jasper and his photography, email or call 800-811-8911.