Robert S Johnson was born and raised on the grounds of the Boston State Hospital which was founded in 1839 under the name "Boston Lunatic Hospital". He returned to work on the locked wards for his gap year and for summers while in college. The first image he remembers taking was of a bear climbing on the family car in Yellowstone Park. The adults were frozen but he grabbed his mom’s Brownie and shot away.
After five careers, ranging from Artistic Director of THECO, a theater company, to Regional Vice President of a for-profit, after-school education company, he turned to photography fulltime in 2008.
He lives in New York City and Wellfleet MA with his wife, Katherine, and their son, Asher, a (very recent) 2018 graduate of Smith College.