Drew began photographing his surroundings where he grew up in New York City in the 1970’s. His love for music attracted him to clubs in the neighborhood where he photographed jazz, blues and the burgeoning underground music scene — clubs like CBGB, Danceteria and the Ritz were his playground. In the early 1980’s Drew apprenticed with several top photographers including Richard Avedon, Gilles Bensimon and Bruce Weber before starting his own photography business and made a transition into directing music videos.
Carolan’s work is included in CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, shown at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles and the International Center of Photography in New York City. His photography is also in the permanent collection of the Design Museum of London. He has shown in Paris, and extensively in New York and California. His photographs have appeared in the pages of ROLLING STONE, SPIN, INTERVIEW, NEW YORK TIMES, LA TIMES, VOGUE, GQ and numerous international magazines and books. Additionally, he has directed award winning music videos for groups like LIVING COLOUR, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, B-52’s ZIGGY MARLEY, HEAVY D, GEORGE BENSON, URGE OVERKILL, DINOSAUR Jr,. among many others.
Carolan is currently producing and directing a documentary based on his work, Then and Now:The Kids of CBGB’s Hardcore Matinee and Beyond W. 4th St. - A View of the American West. A monograph of photographs from his travels with Richard Avedon in the American West.