7 QUESTIONS FOR ACL Voyager, Blaire Johnson

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Blaire Johnson, ACL’s lone female ‘camera dude,’ is also a pirate. When she’s not capturing amazing aerial shots of North Carolina bean fields or wielding her badass camera rig, she’s buckled down in a shanty on the NC coast doing pirate-like things. Blaire is a skilled cameraperson with many probing documentary projects under her belt. We asked her a few questions about her eclectic life on land and at sea.

Q: Tell us all the interesting tidbits about yourself.
I'm a pirate at heart always preferring a life of adventure, and there are few places I'd rather be than behind the camera. I was born in New York City but Carolina Beach, North Carolina is home sweet home.

Q: Can you tell us what made you pursue filmmaking and how you got involved with A CHEF'S LIFE?
I owed a bunch of money to some loan sharks from buying a lot of camera gear and thought I should pay it back.

Q: How would you describe your role on the show?
I often get called to fill in for either Josh or Rex (A CHEF’S LIFE’s other camera dudes), unless it's a rare day when Cynthia (A CHEF’S LIFE director) wants three cameras. My latest passion is aerial cinematography, so I'm excited that Season Four will bring a birdseye view to some of the locations.

Q: What are some other cool projects you've worked on?
I'm currently working on Cynthia Hill's fascinating new documentary series about NASCAR, as well as a short documentary about plastic straws (STRAWS). Plastic straws are one of the top five most littered items on our beaches. There's a movement to get restaurants to go to straws available upon request only, to help keep plastic straws out of our oceans. I'm Co-Director & the Cinematographer of an award-winning documentary about industrial hemp to help bring hemp farming back to the U.S. called Bringing It Home. I'm thrilled to share that the first hemp seeds will be planted in NC in over 80 years as part of a test pilot program next year. I can't wait for North Carolina farmers to be able to grow industrial hemp! 

The first documentary I ever made was called Mary's Gone Wild, about North Carolina Visionary Folk Artist Mary Paulsen, who is located in Holden Beach, NC. Everyone should make a road trip to see her magic garden! Mary recycles trash into art to help feed hungry children, and sales of her art and donations to her garden help to feed thousands of hungry children every year. 

Q: Tell us about your fancy rig!
I love my Easy Rig! I like to call it my deep sea angler rig, because it reminds me of those very cool fish from the deep. It's an incredible piece of equipment which redistributes the weight of our gear so that our arms and backs aren't worn out by the end of a long day of filming. Actually, I am one of six women cinematographers in the world testing a new model.

Q: What's your favorite episode of A CHEF'S LIFE?
Now that's a tough question. Perhaps the Tom Thumb episodes. I didn't work on those episodes, but boy did I feel for Vivian with all of the challenges she had to overcome - and all with a sense of humor.

Q: If you were stranded on a deserted island (or just outside of Kinston) with only one food item and one utensil, what would they be?
The first thing I would want would be a cold beer, so I'm going to turn my utensil into a small volcano of beer that always has cold Busch Light on tap. To accompany it, I would want a wood-fired oven that always had an extra crispy pizza from Chef & The Farmer just ready to come off the flame!


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