Jody Johnston — People to Watch 2018

How you know him: His coworking space, The Parlor, is a popular event venue, and you may have spotted his photography in the branding of some national companies

At only 27, Jody Johnston is already a seasoned commercial photographer, shooting ads for national and local brands including Chevy, Nike, The Backpacker and others.

While his job takes him across the United States, his eye is also focused on Baton Rouge and the hub he’s developed for other creatives here.

Since opening The Parlor in 2016, Johnston has cultivated a collaborative business space for marketing professionals, artists, designers, entrepreneurs and other freelancers.

The building’s open floor plan on St. Joseph Street allows creative energy to flow while encouraging businesses to flourish both independently and together, Johnston says.

Members have 24-hour access to the office space and can also reserve the venue once a month for their own needs, such as hosting an art show, business talk or sales demonstration.

Johnston anticipates The Parlor will continue to grow. Though not a native of Baton Rouge, he says he found a large design industry here and was inspired by the potential for a healthy creative community in the Capital City. So far, he’s not been disappointed. instagram.com/jodyjohnston and theparlor.la


1. He’s dabbled in many industries. Today, he has his own independent contracting and consulting business for advertising firms, production companies and large brands. But before, Johnston was the creative director of an advertising agency, earned an associate’s degree as a medical technician, attended nursing school for a time, worked as a handyman, operated a 36-inch bandsaw at a saw mill and served for many years as a church youth minister.

2. He’s an Instagram celebrity. Johnston has more than 45,000 followers on his personal page (@jodyjohnston). He also recently started an account for food photos, @thejohnstontable, with his wife, Olivia. They post photos and recipes of some of their favorite meals.

3. His dog is a video star. Levi the dog is the focus of an Iams commercial. The ad, which you can find on YouTube, features Johnston and their close relationship. Johnston says he and his dog were injured in separate accidents several years ago but grew especially close as they recovered together.

4. He is focused on The Parlor members’ success. Rather than talk about his own photography, design or film interests, Johnston is quick to share what other members of The Parlor are doing. He is OK with changing the business strategy if it means better things for the members. When The Parlor first opened, he’d envisioned the space as a music venue after-hours. But after a few concerts, he realized it was better suited as a gathering place. “It’s not so much a place to come and spectate,” he says, “but rather a place to come and participate.”

5. He’s a musician. Johnston plays mandolin and is a bluegrass singer. 

Click here to read about the rest of the People To Watch in 2018.

This article was originally published in theJanuary 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.