Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Richard A. Johnson

Richard A. Johnson (photo credit: Donna M. Hess)


Moments With The Land:

"Digman Falls, PA"

"Wissahickon Falls 2, PA"

"Storm, Johnson Canyon 5, UT"

"Coming Storm, Johnson Canyon 6, UT"

"Rock Formations
and Small Trees, Ridley Creek State Park, PA"

"Cape May Storm 2, NJ"

"Carved in Stone 16, UT"

"Textures in Wood 30"

"Mono Lake 9, CA"

"Upper Brandywine Creek 5, PA"

Photographing the landscape has been a way of life for me and has taught me a great deal about myself and our natural environment and has enriched my imagination and soul. The land, with its mystery, power and beauty, continues to be my classroom and has presented me with the challenge of bringing special moments in time to light.

I believe that our earth is a very spiritual place. Some geographic areas, for me, are more inspiring than others. One such place which I feel exemplifies this is the Southwestern United States. Photographing this area has been and continues to be, an awesome privilege and priceless learning opportunity.

I feel that I am never in control, only the vehicle by which these moments of light have been transferred to film. I believe that we do not own the land; we are its guardians-- keepers of a very special and sacred gift, one that was here long before us. It is with hope, that what remains of our natural environment will remain accessible for future generations.

For over three and a half decades I have maintain a steadfast commitment to the fine art of black & white photography. As an instructor in Photography I have had the invaluable experience of sharing my creative energy, passion and experience with others about this exciting art form.

The images presented before you in this portfolio represents my lifelong passion learning and creative experiences documenting nature and our environment.

From The Shadows Into The Light
“The White Place”

"The White Place 1"

"The White Place 2"

"The White Place 3"

"The White Place 4"

"The White Place 5"

"The White Place 6"

"The White Place 8"

"The White Place 9"

"The White Place 10"
"The White Place 11"

It has been almost four years since I have been able to make a pilgrimage to one of my most favorite places to photograph, New Mexico.

New Mexico is often referred to as the “Land of Enchantment”. Over the years I have come to understand why this phrase has such a strong meaning to me. The light in this part of the country is beyond belief. The formations, canyons, and the views of the landscape are breathtaking. It always feels as though I am traveling back to a time when the earth was very young in its formation.

I had the misfortune of only being at this magnificent place for one day. As a matter of fact it was my last day before returning home. I did something I normally don't like to do when traveling, which was to make one and only one exposure per scene. I chose to do this to increase my yield of images because I only had ten 5 x 7 film holders with me. I must say I was a bit nervous about this idea.

When using sheet film, there is always the possibility that anything could happen; a holder not seated right in the camera, a scratch on the negative, the possibilities of light leaks, or a misjudgment in my exposure compensation for reciprocity failure. Added to this, I was using a different type of camera and technique, a new 5 x 7 pinhole camera. At this point I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

With these thoughts going on in my head, I tried to put my concerns about technique aside and experience all the beauty around me. I was in awe of the endless structures, striations and sculptures. There were caverns of all types and sizes with amazing amphitheaters that stretched out over the landscape. These fantastically white cliffs seem to rise from the ground resembling skyscrapers, rivaling any found in our large metropolitan cities. In places, they seemed to be over 500 feet tall. The lighting was magnificent, everything appeared to glow and radiate from within the formations themselves.

I tried to get a feel for what I was experiencing around me, to become one with my environment. I knew in my heart and soul that I would have to return to this magnificent place known as “The White Place” -- Plaza Blanca.  “What an experience”.

I am most grateful to Mr. Johnson for his kind permission allowing me to
feature his work here on my blog; as well as supplying the text for his Artist's Statements and Biography.

Richard A. Johnson Biography:

Richard A. Johnson is a landscape photographer and a native of Philadelphia who utilizes panoramic and large format cameras to create his dynamic images. Over the past two decades he has created twenty black & white portfolios, including images from East coast as well as the South and Northwestern United States. Johnson’s works have been featured in the #70 issue of the international publication “Black & White (U.K.)”, “LensWork (U.S.)” and “LensWork (U.S.) Extended CD” in 2007. Richard’s work has been featured in over 60 solo and group exhibitions and in several television programs on photography.

Johnson has studied with acclaimed master landscape photographers such as Dan Burkholder, Howard Bond, Steve Crouch, Huntington Witherill, David Michael Kennedy and Bob Talley. Johnson has also been awarded both an Instructor’s Scholarship (Santa Fe Workshops) and a Portfolio Project grant from Kodak.

Also, he has worked extensively with the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a variety of different projects and initiatives; including teaching educators as part of Museum’s “Learning To Look Workshop”, participating as visiting artist for “Art Speaks” (an art and literacy program for Philadelphia’s 4th graders) and as a member of the Museum’s Teachers Advisory Group to develop K-12 curricula in Art. Johnson was also selected by Museum to be an Artist in Residence for the Art & Summer Teen Program in Photography in 2006.

Richard currently teaches various courses on traditional black & white photography (beginning, intermediate and advance levels), digital black & white and color photography/printing at Delaware County Community College in Media, Pennsylvania. In 2006, he received “The Excellence In Teaching Award” from the College for Adjunct teaching. Johnson also serves as Director of the DCCC Art Gallery, which represents a divers range of work from regional artists and student work.

Richard A. Johnson’s work is part of numerous private and public collections including the Pennsylvania Department of Education, The Free Library of Philadelphia Archives of Pictures & Prints, University of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson University, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Corporation, the Philadelphia Convention Center, and Haverford College’s Comfort Gallery.