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Robert S Johnson
Photo © Katherine Alford
Robert S Johnson
Robert S Johnson

Robert S Johnson

Country: United States
Birth: 1953

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.
 

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Leonard Freed
United States
1929 | † 2006
Leonard Freed was a documentary photojournalist and longtime Magnum member. He was born to Jewish, working-class parents of Eastern European descent. Freed had wanted to be a painter, but began taking photographs in the Netherlands and discovered a new passion. He traveled in Europe and Africa before returning to the United States where he attended the New School and studied with Alexey Brodovitch, the art director of Harper's Bazaar. In 1958 he moved to Amsterdam to photograph its Jewish community. Through the 1960s he continued to work as a freelance photojournalist, traveling widely. He documented such events and subjects as the Civil Rights movement in America (1964–65), the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the New York City police department (1972–79). His career blossomed during the American civil rights movement, when he traveled the country with Martin Luther King, Jr. in his celebrated march across the US from Alabama to Washington. This journey gave him the opportunity to produce his 1968 book, Black in White America, which brought considerable attention. His work on New York City law enforcement also led to a book, Police Work which was published in 1980. Early in Freed's career, Edward Steichen purchased three photographs from Freed for the collection of the Museum of Modern Art.[ In 1967, Cornell Capa selected Freed as one of five photographers to participate in his "Concerned Photography" exhibition. Freed joined Magnum Photos in 1972. Publications to which Freed contributed over the years included Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Fortune, Libération, Life, Look, Paris-Match, Stern, and The Sunday Times Magazine of London. In later years, Freed continued shooting photographs in Italy, Turkey, Germany, Lebanon and the U.S. He also shot four films for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian television.Source: Wikipedia Born in Brooklyn, New York, to working-class Jewish parents of Eastern European descent, Leonard Freed first wanted to become a painter. However, he began taking photographs while in the Netherlands in 1953, and discovered that this was where his passion lay. In 1954, after trips through Europe and North Africa, he returned to the United States and studied in Alexei Brodovitch's 'design laboratory'. He moved to Amsterdam in 1958 and photographed the Jewish community there. He pursued this concern in numerous books and films, examining German society and his own Jewish roots; his book on the Jews in Germany was published in 1961, and Made in Germany, about post-war Germany, appeared in 1965. Working as a freelance photographer from 1961 onwards, Freed began to travel widely, photographing blacks in America (1964-65), events in Israel (1967-68), the Yom Kippur War in 1973, and the New York City police department (1972-79). He also shot four films for Japanese, Dutch and Belgian television. Early in Freed's career, Edward Steichen, then Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, bought three of his photographs for the museum. Steichen told Freed that he was one of the three best young photographers he had seen and urged him to remain an amateur, as the other two were now doing commercial photography and their work had become uninteresting. 'Preferably,' he advised, 'be a truck driver.' Freed joined Magnum in 1972. His coverage of the American civil rights movement first made him famous, but he also produced major essays on Poland, Asian immigration in England, North Sea oil development, and Spain after Franco. Photography became Freed's means of exploring societal violence and racial discrimination. Leonard Freed died in Garrison, New York, on 30 November 2006.Source: Steven Kasher Gallery
René Groebli
Switzerland
1927
René Groebli (born October 9, 1927 in Zurich) is an exhibiting and published Swiss industrial and advertising photographer, expert in dye transfer and colour lithography. He grew up in the Enge district of the city of Zurich, where he attended the Langzeitgymnasium. After two years, he moved to the Oberrealschule, a science-oriented grammar school, but broke off this education after two years to begin an apprenticeship as a photographer with Theo Vonow in Zurich in 1944. When his teacher moved back to Graubünden, Groebli entered the preparatory course of the Zurich School of Applied Arts, attending from the spring of 1945. Subsequently, he enrolled in the renowned professional class for photography under the direction of Hans Finsler and Alfred Willimann until the summer of 1946. Amongst his fellow students were Ernst Scheidegger and Anita Nietz. In September 1946 Groebli began training as a documentary cameraman at Central Film and Gloria Film Zürich, graduating in late 1948 with a diploma, though he did not subsequently practice as a cinematographer. In 1947 he won third prize in a competition run by the monthly magazine Camera with his series Karussell. Freelancing for Victor-N. Cohen agency in Zurich, in 1948 Groebli made his first trip to Paris and in 1949 bought his first Leica. From 1949 Groebli worked as a photojournalist and carried out assignments for the Züri-Woche, and later in Africa and the Middle East for the London agency Black Star. The pictures were published in the magazines Life and Picture Post. His first small folio Magie der Schiene ('Rail magic') comprising 16 photographs (with front and back cover) was also shot in 1949 and self-published later the same year. It captures the ‘magic’ of steam train travel during the late 1940s. Despite being young and relatively unknown, Groebli was able to borrow enough money to finance the high-quality printing. Technically it is a portfolio rather than a book, with pages unbound and laid in loose, inspired by the Man Ray and Paul Éluard publication FACILE (1935) which he purchased on his first trip to Paris in 1948. Photographed with a Rolleiflex 6×6 and a Leica 35mm camera in and around Paris, as well as locations in Switzerland, the often motion-blurred and grainy images convey the energy of steam. An obi-band with German text was produced for the approximately 30 to 40 original preorders, and other copies sold without. He held his first solo exhibition with photographs from the book. He spent three months in Paris where he met Brassaï and Robert Frank and spent a month in London. On October 13, 1951 he and Rita Dürmüller (1923-2013) were married. A second slim picture book Das Auge der Liebe ('The Eye of Love'), self-published in 1954 through his business “Turnus”, was created in collaboration with his wife Rita Groebli. This small book, though respected for its design and photography, caused some controversy, but also brought Groebli attention. It was assembled from shots made on the belated honeymoon that the photographer and his wife Rita took over two weeks in Paris in 1952 and in the following year for a few days to Marseille, though publication of the photographs was not planned in 1953 Groebli sequenced it for a book, introducing a blank page to stand in for daytime in its chronology. In the Swiss Photorundschau, published by the Swiss Photographic Association, the editor Hermann König traded correspondence with a specialist teacher of the School of Applied Arts where the book had been passed around and argued over, the term "love" in the title being considered by students to be too sentimental given the obvious sexual connotations. Where the photographer’s intention was for a romantic effect, the editor admitted that the narrative was sexualized. In the leading periodical Neue Zürcher Zeitunghe, editor Edwin Arnet objected to the emphasis on nudity. Groebli sequenced his photographs to tell the story of a woman meeting a man in a cheap hotel. The last photograph shows the woman's hand with a wedding ring on her ring finger holding an almost finished post-coitus cigarette. In the perception of audiences of the era, the implication was that the woman had to be either an ‘easy woman’, a prostitute, or an unfaithful wife. However the U.S. Camera Annual review of the work in 1955 pronounced it "a tender photo-essay on a photographer’s love for a woman.” After the death of photojournalist Paul Senn in 1953 and the killing of Werner Bischof in Peru in 1954, Kurt Blum, Robert Frank and René Groebli were newly admitted to the Kollegium Schweizerischer Photographen. A major exhibition organized by the 'Kollegium' in 1955 convinced critics that a new "Swiss style" that was indeed moving towards Photography as Expression as the exhibition was titled, and the end of critical (later dubbed 'concerned') photography. However, the association was soon disbanded because of disagreements between Gotthard Schuh and Jakob Tuggener, and Groebli had by then relinquished photojournalism. In the same year, and with four other Swiss photographers, Werner Bischof, Robert Frank, Gotthard Schuh and Sabine Weiss, René Groebli was represented with a picture in the exhibition The Family of Man curated by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. His available-light photo shows a tight crowd of excited, dancing teenagers, their movement blurred in the style of Magie der Schiene. Groebli launched his own studio for commercial industrial and advertising photography in 1955 in the newly built residential and studio building in Zurich-Wollishofen. At the end of the 1950s, Groebli also had his home and studio converted and enlarged and in addition to two studios and two black and white labs, a dye transfer workshop with several laboratory workstations was added. In 1963 Groebli founded the limited partnership Groebli + Guler with lithographer Walter Guler, renamed 'Fotolithos' in 1968. The workplace in Zurich-Wollishofen was equipped with the latest and best technical facilities and through the 1960s and early 1970s the business employed a staff of up to twelve, with good profits made from servicing the advertising photography industry. After ten years producing specialist colour photography, dye transfer production and colour lithographs for commercial advertising and industrial photography, in 1965 Groebli published his third photo book Variation through Arthur Niggli Verlag, Teufen. It presented a retrospective of possibilities of Groebli’s colour photography, though with scant mention of the role of his many employees and business partners. In 1971 he issued a second edition Variation 2, with updated information on colour technology including Cibachrome. By the late 1970s, with the more widespread adoption and acceptance of chromogenic methods of colour production less technically demanding and cheaper than dye transfer, Groebli ceased commercial photography and colour production, sold his home and studio and retired, though he still maintained connections with the industry and presented a paper on dye transfer at the 1977 Rencontres d'Arles. Groebli returned to making personal photographic essays in colour and in black and white, in series titled Fantasies, Ireland, The Shell, Burned Trees, N. Y. Visions, New York Melancholia and Nudes. Over the decades of the turn of the century, he worked on his image archive and digitized the most important photographs that he had taken over a career of sixty years. Groebli currently resides in Switzerland.Source: Wikipedia
Thomas Devaux
France
1980
Thomas Devaux has authored several complex and ambitious series. In each of them one can find a subtle but strong game of jousting played out between his core values and the evolutions brought about by modern technology. The inflammatory value behind the photography is not so innate. It is more a direct effort meant to mirror a fragment of a future re-composition.The works in the "ATTRITION" series were selected according to their composition and their figurative will. This is a double articulation between what is borrowed and that which is a reinterpretation on one hand and an axe in art history on the other hand. "ATTRITION", thanks to the expanded possibilities of digital techniques of which I have become very experienced, shows a n affluence of forms and materials such as an organic proliferation of hair, of body parts, etc. The portrait becomes a division of a face created by itself or vanishes in its own contour. The development material, though shadowy and opaque, is light and see-through. It raises the texture of the paper which allows for an automatic refinement of the forms and pigments.The final result is both sensual and onirique in the in the very image of the models that Devaux photographs in the backstages of fashion shows. They allow him to grasp the pictorial qualities which remain anchored in this field of photography. His surface does not rely upon the thickness of painting materials but rather on an artificial yet original vocabulary which is personal and photographic." Source: Anne Biroleau-Lemagny, General Curator Charge of Contemporary 21st Century: French National Library Born in 1980. Lives and works in Paris.Thomas Devaux moved frequently when he was young and he never stopped being "in motion". He moved to London after graduating from high school, and then he started his studies in Montpellier, while exploring the image in all its forms: photography, experimental cinema, painting and collage...He achieved through this artistic extension to remove the boundary between drawing and photography. Finally, he obtained diploma of Licence in Performing Art in Paris (Paris X). Developing great interest in traveling and exploring the world, he found his place in 2006 working for a fashion magazine: Fashion Insider. He first started as a photographer and cameraman, and became the artistic director of the magazine in 2009. He attended the world's most famous fashion shows and worked in many countries (France, Italy, Brazil, Portugal, Georgia, UK, Turkey, Denmark, Cyprus...). Opening up to the world, and to all the celebrities he met and interviewed for his magazine, was the opportunity to develop and make his style recognized: Jean-Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, John Galliano, Donatella Vercace, Sonia Rykiel, Usher, Chris Brown, Kanye West, Milla Jovovich, Beth Ditto, Pedro Almodovar... Source: 1:1 Photo Magazine At first sight, portraits. At second glance, the questioning. Paintings or photographs? Thomas Devaux artwork throws off. By its form as its content, it upsets any certainty. And, it is precisely though that movement that it comes to its full magnitude.Fashion photographer, Thomas Devaux keeps from its reports thousands of shoots made behind the scenes that feed a later digital work. Indeed, in front of his screen, he cuts, deconstructs, assembles and recomposes his pictures until he creates images full of contradictions. Far from being frightened, Thomas Devaux finds with these dualities a remarkable tool to transcend the boundaries and ward off any kind of fatality. Of fashion, he likes the aesthetics but condemns the stylistic dictum and the imperative beauty. Of photography, he praises the documentary force but fears the frozen relation to time. And, from these considerations, comes out the idea of an nonconformism, un-postural, in the original meaning, as Thomas Devaux refuses any reductive normativity without denying for all that any legagy. Entitling his series "Attriction", he seems to insist on the idea of wear. A notion that does not necessarily imply deterioration. As, if the marks of time destroy some aspects, they also reveal some others. Finally, his work damages beauty to enhance it out of the conservative models. It brings together traditional approaches and opens them to modernity. It integrates the cyclic dimension of existence and reminds that what springs dies and what dies springs again with a new form. Source: Ozarts Etc
Matt Wilson
United Kingdom
1969
Matt Wilson’s current body of work is part of an ongoing project, based upon a collection of transient observations, the landscapes of every day life and the people that call those landscapes home. It delves into the artist’s own history, his formative and current years within his home landscape and in the city he now resides and also, those of distant landscapes both literally and metaphorically he has traveled. A subtle, visually rich character study of what makes us who we are and the places we all inhabit and journey to, a chance to observe those looking outward whilst reflectively an opportunity to gaze inward.Source: Susan Inglett Gallery Matt Wilson photographed everywhere in Europe, starting with his native England, but also in France, with which it has its affinities, without omitting the Eastern countries where he still returns frequently between two stays Cuba. More recently, he ended his desire browse new territory: the United States where he lived for ten years. He could be afraid to touch this history, both American photographers are already loaded beautifully. But again, it gives us an amazing vision that reveals by snapshots of landscapes and men burnt by the sun that eventually, anyway, by lying down on this vast landscape to create ineffable moments that we may be fooling yourself and see it in watercolor. Then we could call this work “pictorial metaphor” even if the drift purely pictorial characters Matt Wilson were not so rooted in their time and in their daily lives, although sometimes needy. Because somewhere, if Matt Wilson gives us what he sees through a poetic prism, it is also a reporter and reflects our contemporary society by its subjects but often raw deals at tragic nor misery. His watchful eye is rather benevolent view borrowing a tragicomic light behind the full extent of a deeply humanistic thought.Source: mattwilsonphotography.com
Hannah Altman
United States
Hannah Altman is a Jewish-American artist from New Jersey. She holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Through photographic based media, her work interprets relationships between gestures, the body, lineage, and interior space. She has recently exhibited with the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Blue Sky Gallery, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and Photoville Festival. Her work has been featured in publications such as Vanity Fair, Carnegie Museum of Art Storyboard, Huffington Post, New York Times, Fotoroom, Cosmopolitan, i-D, and British Journal of Photography. She was the recipient of the 2019 Bertha Anolic Israel Travel Award and included in the 2020 Critical Mass and Lenscratch Student Prize Finalists. She has delivered lectures on her work and research across the country, including Yale University and the Society for Photographic Education National Conference. Her first monograph, published by Kris Graves Projects, is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas J Watson Library. Kavana Jewish thought suggests that the memory of an action is as primary as the action itself. This is to say that when my hand is wounded, I remember other hands. I trace ache back to other aches - my mother grabbing my wrist pulling me across the intersection, my great-grandmother's fingers numb on the ship headed towards Cuba fleeing the Nazis, Miriam's palms pouring water for the Hebrews in the desert - this is how a Jew understands action. Because no physical space is a given for the Jewish diaspora, time and the rituals that steep into it are centered as a mode of carrying on. The bloodline of a folktale, an object, a ritual, pulses through interpretation and enactment. In this work I explore notions of Jewish memory, narrative heirlooms, and image making; the works position themselves in the past as memories, in the present as stories being told, and in the future as actions to interpret and repeat. To approach an image in this way is not only to ask what it looks like but asks: what does it remember like?
Beth Moon
United States
1956
San Francisco Bay Area artist, Beth Moon, has gained international recognition for her large-scale, richly toned platinum prints. Since 1999, Moon’s work has appeared in more than sixty solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Italy, England, France, Israel, Brazil, Dubai, Singapore, and Canada. Her work is held in numerous public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, and the Fox Talbot Museum in Wiltshire, England. In 2013, Between Earth and Sky, the first monograph of her work, was published by Charta Art Books of Milan. In 2014, Abbeville Press published, Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time, with a third book to follow that same year from Galerie Vevais, La Lange Verte. Moon studied fine art at the University of Wisconsin before moving to England where she experimented with alternative photographic processes and learned to make platinum prints. Source: www.vervegallery.com Beth Moon was born in Neenah, Wisconsin and studied fine art at the University of Wisconsin. Classes in painting, life drawing, sculpture, and design would set the groundwork for her work in photography, which was to come years later. Moving to England, a country with a love for all things arboreal, gave her a fresh look at a land that boasts the largest concentration of ancient trees. Inspired by these trees she decided to make a series of their portraits. Unhappy with the photographic tonality and stability of ink-jet printing, she started to experiment with alternative printing processes, learning platinum/palladium printing, an ideal process for her vision. She concentrated on mastering this printing technique, doing all of her own printing. “By using the longest lasting photographic process, I hope to speak about survival, not only of man and nature’s but to photography’s survival as well. For each print I mix ground platinum and palladium metals, making a tincture that is hand-coated onto heavy watercolor paper and exposed to light. There are many steps involved in creating the final print and these are as important to me as the capturing of the image," said Moon. A platinum print can last for centuries, drawing on the common theme of time and survival, pairing photographic subject and process. Source: www.josephsaxton.com
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