David Gardner: Marking Our Place in the World and Stephen Johnson:the Exquisite Earth Portfolio and Selected Works

Viewpoint Gallery presents an exhibit of exceptional images by noted photographers David Gardner and Stephen Johnson, who both look closely at the Earth—its wild places and the influence of man.

For David Gardner, the impetus for Marking Our Place in the World came from  a tree—festooned with shoes—beside U.S. Highway 50 in Nevada. After photographing it he started digging through his car for his own piece of footwear that he could add—and then he stopped, not really understanding why he’d experienced that odd impulse. He is interested in that impulse and its result as applied to the landscape.

Gardner says: “As humans we must communicate – it is what we do best. We seem hardwired from birth to do this via a complicated system using signs and symbols. But removed from our normal settings and tools, how do we compensate? Why are we compelled to ‘leave our mark’ upon landscape, whether or not others understand its meaning or semiology?”

In Gardner’s color photographic investigation of this idea, the marks themselves are more relevant to him than the particular landscape they inhabit. He is also interested in how our interventions impact the landscape, both natural and urban, in ways that are permanent as well as changed by time and nature. “I explore themes of history, language and communication, while observing the dynamic of personal and group expression as it plays out on the landscape.”

Gardner explains that “Our need for land—or sky—to reflect meaning is indicative of the same primal impulse we have to leave our presence upon the landscape. We imagine mythical figures in the stars. We see the Virgin Mary in the knots of a tree. We are both compelled to make marks as well as to decipher their meanings. By looking at how we have marked the landscape through time, we gain insight into our personal and collective history. To decline such study is to leave to others the control of the world of meanings in which we inhabit.”

David Gardner lives part-time in San Francisco and part-time in a 26 ft. Lazy Daze motorhome, christened Carpe Diem, pursuing his photographic interests across the continent. See more of his work on his web site, www.lightight.com.


Exquisite Earth is an extraordinary collection of works by digital photographer Stephen Johnson. These dramatic images were created in Antarctica, the Galapagos Islands, Iceland, the American West, and elsewhere.

“The grouping is called Exquisite Earth," says Johnson, "and is meant to convey my deep appreciation for this extraordinary planet we call home.” Additional information about the images and the exhibition is available on his web site, www.sjphoto.com.

Mr. Johnson helped birth the era of digital photography via his lush, large format digital works captured throughout the U.S. national parks system in the 1990s. He has consulted and advised most of the major industry players through their transition into todayʼs digital photographic world. Johnson has maintained his commitment to the "real witness of real scenes" approach to photography and has taught thousands of students in his photography workshops.

Stephen Johnson is a landscape photographer, designer and teacher. In 2003 he was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame. Canon named him to their Explores of Light program in 2006 and XRite as a founding member of their exclusive Coloratti color experts group in 2007. His books include At Mono Lake, the award winning and critically acclaimed The Great Central Valley: California'ʼs Heartland, Making a Digital Book and the new Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography.




David Gardner: Balance


David Gardner: Labyrinth


David Gardner: Rock of Faith


Stephen Johnson: Actarctica


Stephen Jonson: Iceland


 Stephen Johnson: Mono Lake




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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