On Monday 14th May 2012, John Driscoll, affectionately known as Johno, passed away. He ran the legendary Johno’s Darkroom, a black and white printers that developed and fixed world famous photographs from world famous photographers who refused to go anywhere else.
From the mid-80s to the late-90s, Johno printed photographs for Nick Knight, Elaine Constantine, Eamonn McCabe, Sean Smith and Craig McDean, whose shots with Edward Enninful, through Johno, appeared in the pages of early i-D. People chose Johno for a reason. Researching him for this article, the phrases that come up again and again are ‘nice guy’, ‘amazing talent’, ‘warm-hearted’. We asked a few people from the i-D community, who knew Johno well, to share their tributes…
“I think I speak for many when I say without John and Barbs’ support, talent and friendship over the many years I/we would not have enjoyed the successes we have to the extent we have. John was one of the most real and open human beings, it has been an honour to call him a friend. Our thoughts are with Barb and of John. I have no doubt that should there be life after death, John is already making himself invaluable to all who seek him out in some tucked away spot. Not too far away from a nice pub. Here’s to you John.” Kent Baker
“I have known JohnO for about 30 years, when I first went to meet him he said ‘look out for someone who looks like David Bellamy”, and he was right, I recognised him straight away in the pub where we were meeting. He was a lovely person to meet and we stayed friends all these years. I think everybody who met JohnO felt the same, he was just a nice person to know and got on with everybody. I’ve never heard a bad word said about him.
As well as this he was a brilliant B&W printer who all the photographers wanted to print with at the time. When I met him he had just finished printing the latest campaign with Nick Knight for a Yohji Yamamoto catalogue. And Nick wanted me to meet JohnO as I had heard so much about him, and wanted to do the next campaign in colour as well as B&W. The rest is history really as we both made our names printing with Nick and the many campaigns that Nick photographed. And of course went on to print for all Nick’s ex assistants, Craig McDean, Sølve Sundsbo, the list goes on.
I feel so sad that JohnO has passed away and cannot at this moment believe I will never see him again, it breaks my heart.” Brian Dowling
“Johno, you printed so many portraits and fashion images for i-D. You’ll always be in our memory. Thank you and Barbara for your generosity and for your amazing talent. Big Love”. Terry Jones
Read David Secombe’s text on Johno on The London Column here.
Image (top) Kate Moss by Craig McDean, printed in W magazine, 1995 by Johno’s Darkroom.
Images (middle) courtesy Brian Dowling.
Image (bottom) as seen in The Future Issue, January 1995. Photography by Craig McDean. Styling by Edward Enninful. Printed by Johno’s Darkroom.