Stephen Johnson Photography News
Next Field Workshop:
Welcome to the March 2018 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.
Just home from weekend opening events for the Life Form exhibit in Sacramento. I'm tired, but satisfied that the work is well crafted and carefully seen. Once prints are on the wall, despite all of the memories of producing the work, it is almost as though I could not have had anything to do with it. I've always thought of that as a kind of pride in the work, and yet realizing I am only witness to this beauty, I did not create it.
FEATURED PRINT March 2018
Caladium. Royal Flush.
Canon EOS 5DSr.
9.5x14 Pigment Inkjet Print on Cotton paper
The red, pink and green drew my eye in, the structure made a design I thought I could photograph.
2018 Workshop Schedule is building with these and other great courses coming up. See what a great experience students have had on Steve's Workshops by exploring Workshop Testimonials.
Upcoming Events & Workshops
The Studio, Scholarships and Mentoring
As part of our ongoing commitment to photographic education, there is one student scholarship spot in many of our classes. Please pass the word along.
For discounted time studying with Steve, keep in mind our Mentoring Program.
With all of our busy schedules and limited budgets, destination workshops or classes become a challenge, but many of you still have questions you need answered, or feedback on some new work. We want to remind you of our Virtual Online Consulting Program. This service allows all of you out there around the globe to consult online live with Steve on technical, aesthetic and workflow issues using Skype and your webcam.
We hope you can come by the gallery and see the original prints in the National Parks Gallery, and the Exquisite Earth exhibition with its accompanying very special Exquisite Earth Portfolio 1. We invite you to join us on a workshop, rent lab space, or just say hello and let us know what you are up to photographically and what you might like to see us offer. We value your input.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
by Stephen Johnson
Life Form Premieres
The project I started back in the spring of 2013 opened to the public Friday night March 9, 2018 at the Viewpoint Photographic Art Center in Sacramento.
The Exhibition Intro Panel
The Life Form Series
This work comes from my lifelong fascination with organic form and design. Not only have I found solace in the natural world for all of my adult life, but my respect for all living things has profoundly effected how I’ve lived my life. My photographic work has long reflected this interest and respect.
Over the years I have often been struck by the pure sensuality of flora, and have often made photographs that have moved me 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.
My fascination with sensual organic form knows no limits. The natural beauty that drew me 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. 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 and irresistible to explore with care, deep focus, sensitively and without embellishment.
The Photographic Process
The Life Form Series is being made with a focus-stacking technique to expand the depth of field with multiple focusing points assembled in Helicon Focus software.
Canon Cameras and Printers
I am using the Canon EOS camera system for the Life Form project and it has evolved through three different Canon camera bodies, the 22mp 1Ds III, the 5D III and now the 50mp 5DSr. My lenses have been the beautiful Canon 180mm Macro, the 100mm Macro, 28-70mm Macro, and the 70-200mm with Extension Tube EF 12.
I made a decision very early on to keep this body of work based entirely on Canon cameras and printers. So the first prints were on my Canon IPF6450 just as 14 inch proofs of the files with some custom profiles Canon made for me. I chose the Museum Etching paper I designed for Hahnemühle and have been delighted with the results. The 14 inch prints were fine, and gave me the results I needed to see where the work was going. Even very early into the project I couldn’t wait to try a bigger 40 inch print.
In May 2013, my first 40 inch print became a reality, and looked very handsome. As it happened, I had a consulting appointment the very next day, and one of my clients bought the print on the spot. I was encouraged. Canon then sent in a IPF8400 for the big prints. The work then began on the printing a set of 25 large 40 inch exhibition prints and has continued with the new imagePROGRAF PRO-4000. I am very proud of the results.
The early project prints were about tuning the Canon printer and my focus stacking process. As I was experimenting making photographs in my studio, I was able to make a few photographs, focus-stack them, and hold a print in 15 minutes. It was a remarkable feedback loop.
Choosing Hahnemühle's Museum Etching paper I designed was an early aesthetic decision which has turned out splendidly. I am very happy with the natural fibers of the paper, its inherent depth, and this particular subject matter. As the project went on, I gained more and more confidence in the Canon printers and how they interacted with the paper.
When I started to explore bigger prints, there was no question about the process I would use, I was going to stay on the Canon pigment printers and the Museum Etching paper. Both Canon and Hahnemühle have been very generous to this project.
Thanks go to Canon for the first display of prints for New York's PhotoPlus Exposition back in October. Their framing for that display drove the aesthetics of the entire exhibition and I am very grateful.
Most of my attention in January and February of this year was preparing for the Life Form show in March. Reprinting some photographs, ordering frames, cutting down 40x60 matt board, getting help with the 8-ply overmatts and with assembling the frames. Toward the end of the process my 8-ply matt cutting was visibly improving
Of course, I was also raising framing funds through the Exhibit Construction Kickstarter project which turned out wonderfully. With stretch funding, enough was raised beyond my initial goal to frame 16 more prints beyond what Canon framed last fall.
Thanks to all of my Kickstarter supporters. You all really did make the framing of these prints possible.
The Opening at Viewpoint
Life Form opened on March 6 to the public and was celebrated in a Member's opening on the evening of March 9th, a public opening on March 10 and featured a lecture on March 11. The prints will be on display at Viewpoint through April 7.
The Members Opening was very busy with many old friends dropping by. The Public Opening had almost 400 people come by, the Lecture was standing room only. I was very pleased with the attendance and their reactions to the work.
I knew some of the walls at Viewpoint were too small for my 50 inch frames, so I started going through stacks of 11x14 prints that I might like to include. Some new work floated to the top of the stacks and a few of those made it into the show. Others had been under consideration as larger prints but I knew space was limited in the current venue.
The Life Form Exhibition will open at my Pacifica Gallery in the Pacifica Center for the Arts in late April or early May. The date is a little uncertain at the moment as there is a lot of work to do to prepare the space.
Seeking Good Venues
We are seeking good venues to show this work. The Life Form Series is now available for museum and gallery exhibition.
The staff and numerous volunteers worked hard to hang the show, made us feel like family and rest easy with the confidence that the work would be well handled.
l'm very proud to have my new work at Viewpoint on public view.
Wandering Around Sacramento
I spent part of my early youth in Sacramento and so visiting always brings a tinge of going home. It is where my earliest memories are.
By the time my eighth grade class field trip took us to the state capitol, I had lived most of my life over 100 miles away. I remembered the excitement coming to the Capital building, seeing where government functioned, where a difference could be made. I was not yet cynical, possibility was starting to dawn on my imagination. The next few years would bring huge transitions to my thinking, becoming aware of Vietnam, political assassinations, racism and the struggle for human and animal rights across the planet.
Whenever I visit our state capitol, or Washington, that trip in 1969 washes over me. I still remember that day in awe.
Don't forget to Check out our next workshops
Next Studio Workshop
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At Stephen Johnson Photography
Although a book from the Life Form Series will take time (and a publisher) to produce, I did decide to make a 36 page folio of images in the meantime.
The Life From Folio is available directly from my print on demand printer MagCloud or by dropping by my studio.
We recently replaced the Epson 2400s in our lab with their new P600s and consequently have some printers to seed to photographers in need. We were also given some Epson Canvas to share. These are available for pick-up to those of you on my mailing list. Let me know of your interest. I do want to spread them out among a few people.
New Life Form Folio
The Life Form Folio
As we are premiering the Life Form Exhibition, I wanted to have a collectible item and record of the show prior to the full book I plan. So, now available is the 36 page 11x17 wire bound book, 5 years of work from 2013 to 2018 exploring these magnificent lives.
- Photographs from 2013-2018
- 36 pages
- 11x17 wire-bound book
New Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog
The Exquisite Earth Exhibition Catalog
As I've been on a roll on fixing bodies of work into POD books, I decided before the Exquisite Earth show could come down for new upcoming show, I wanted to create a printed record. So, now available is the 56 page 11x17 wire bound book, 5 years of work from 2005 to 2010 traveling this wondrous planet.
- Photographs from 2005-2010
- 56 pages
- 11x17 wire-bound book
New Pacifica Book
- 74 pages
- 11x17 wire-bound book
- Pacifica Trail Map
- 32 years in Pacifica
- 10 years of calendars
Pacifica Trail Map by Pease Maps special to the Pacifica Land Trust.
11" x 17" folded
$10 (free shipping) proceeds go the Pacifica Land Trust a non-profit 501c3.
Gift Certificates for Prints and Workshops!
Emailed or shipped with beautiful gift note card.
Life Form Note cards
5x7 inches (sold-out, on backorder)
12 image Note card set with envelopes featuring photographs from Steve's new Life Form work.
Printed by Steve in his studio in very limited numbers on a color laser digital press
National Park Note cards
12 cards/envelopes $20 set
From "With a New Eye" Beautiful 300 line screen offset reproductions with envelopes in clear box. A great gift.
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