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April Mind of the Artist: Eric Johnson

April 1, 2019

This month, we are so excited to welcome photographer Eric Johnson to the blog as our April Mind of the Artist. Thanks so much Eric for sharing your fabulousness with us.

I have been fascinated by the process of photography for as long as I can remember. My parents gave me a Kodak Brownie camera in elementary school; I purchased my first “real” camera, a Canon 35mm SLR, in high school while working for the school newspaper.  At the same time, I learned to develop black-and-white film and print my negatives in the darkroom.  In college, I purchased an antique, but quite functional, 8x10 view camera (which I still have), and started to photograph in a less journalistic style.  My workflow is completely digital now, but I still am drawn to the aesthetic of black and white photography.

Some of my key photographic influences are George Tice and the New Topographics photographers.  These photographers developed a style of photographing urban landscapes that, through careful choice of subject and lighting, could draw beauty from an otherwise ordinary scene.  My present photographic style has been described as documentary, featuring landscapes influenced by man, but without the presence of man.  

This is characteristic of a project that I worked on several years ago, titled “Off Season” which documented summer resort areas in the wintertime, when the crowds of travelers had dissipated, and what remained was the tranquil essence of the place itself.  

Off Season - Roller Coaster Off Season - Boardwalk

I am not a full-time photographer, so one of my challenges is that my photography has to compete for time with my full-time non-photographic career and various other responsibilities.  As a result my photography tends to be done in binge fashion, and is often associated with travel.  

One of my most productive and photographically rewarding trips was a week-long road trip across the country on US Route 50, which runs from Ocean City, Maryland to Sacramento, California. This trip was the genesis of a project I call “50 West”.  It continues to this day, supplemented with photographs made along the local sections of the highway in DC, Maryland and Virginia.  Images from this project have been shown at in solo show at Multiple Exposures Gallery at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandra, as well as other local venues.   

50 West - Austin Garage 50 West - Washington Monument

Work from these and other projects can be found on my website: www.etjphoto.com. 

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