Stephen Johnson: Life Form

Exhibit Dates: 
Tuesday, Mar. 6 to Saturday, Apr. 7
Artist Reception: 
Friday, Mar. 9 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
2nd Saturday Opening: 
Saturday, Mar. 10 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm


Stephen Johnson is a landscape photographer, designer and teacher. He has been photographing since 1973 and concentrates on landscape projects exploring wild, endangered spaces and human-altered lands, making images that depict a respect for the land and a real-world celebration of our relationship to nature. His work has been featured in Communication Arts, LIFE Magazine, American Photo, Outdoor Photographer, and ABC Discovery News, among many others. His books include At Mono Lake, the award winning and critically acclaimed The Great Central Valley: California's Heartland, Making a Digital Book and the newest, Stephen Johnson On Digital Photography.

In 1994 Johnson embarked on With A New Eye, the ground breaking all digital photographic look at American national parks. Steve was recognized by Apple Computer in 1997 with a ColorSync Profiling Excellence Award. In 1999, Folio Magazine declared the publication of Johnson's digital photographs in Life Magazine to be one of the Top  15 Critical Events in magazine publishing in the twentieth century.  In 2003 he was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame. Canon named Steve as one of their Explorers of Light in 2006 and sponsors speaking engagements with him around the country. In 2007 X-Rite named Stephen as a founding member of their exclusive Coloratti group of photographers and educators honored for their skills in color management.


The Life Form Series comes from Johnson’s lifelong fascination with organic form and design. Not only has he found solace in the natural world, but his respect for all living things has profoundly affected how he has lived his life. Johnson’s photographic work has long reflected this interest and respect.

Over the years, he has often been struck by the pure sensuality of flora, and has frequently made photographs that have moved him emotionally. “I suppose it is no great extension of this interest to now find myself exploring the design, form and sensuality of plant form with this emerging body of work” Johnson muses.

His fascination with sensual organic form knows no limits. The natural beauty that drew him to photography is most profoundly manifested by the very sensuality of natural form itself. Its beauty is deeply emotional, bound up in the basic instinct and desires of our humanness.  According to Johnson “Finding such form in the real world has been my career”. This work concentrates that intrigue on the wonderful and strange form found in plant life. “Closely examined, these seemingly familiar, fellow creatures of this planet, become profoundly compellingly, strange, almost alien and irresistible to explore with care, deep focus, sensitively and without embellishment” he explains.


Viewpoint Lecture with Stephen Johnson, Sunday March 11th 2 - 4 p.m.

​TOPIC: ​Life Form: Vision and Technique of Looking Close

​​Stephen Johnson is a Canon Explorer of Light and in this 2 hour lecture he will take you through a​n exploration of the sensuality and strangeness of flora seen in abstract form and beauty. Re-imagining the meaning of close up photography, Stephen Johnson has spent the last few years working on a series of very detailed, deeply focused photographic studies of the raw sensual beauty of plant life. The photographs are both eerily realistic and abstract. Most of the photographs are assembled from multiple images made at different focus points (focus stacked) and integrated into previously unseen uncannily sharp renditions of truly exotic form. This talk examines the inspiration and vision for this work and the techniques used to achieve his remarkable prints.



Thank you to our sponsors!

Kenneth Meyers
Meyers Investment Group of Baird

Platinum Sponsor


Viewpoint Photographic Art Center is the proud recipient of a SMAC Cultural Arts Award grant.

Individual Sponsorships
(Luminance Level & Above)

Diane Tempest

J.B. Jones

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