Stephen Johnson Photography News
Welcome to the April 2019 Edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter.
Hanging a new show takes everything I’ve got. I’m often very proud but also exhausted. My attention gets so concentrated, naturally, on the photographs that I sometimes forget the commerce side all together. But then, I turn, catch up with email and webpages some of what I should have done. Now there is a Space prints page, Expanded SJ Photo Editions offerings and many cool new additions to the show. Come see us. I’m doing a talk on 50 Years of Space Photography on April 28.
This month's View From Here column jots down a few thoughts on photography and time. We hope you find the column interesting and will consider sending us some comments.
FEATURED PRINT April 2019
Canon EOS 5DSr.
9.5x14 Pigment Inkjet Print $150 each
Watching another sacred sunset down at the beach…I kept noticing a curious leaping upward of waves. I took awhile to catch one, but they were amazing to see seeming to spring up almost randomly.
We're offering a 9.5x14 inch print of the photograph for $150, matted to 16 inch wide board and ready to frame, framed in silver for an additional $100, wood for $250. This print at this price is offered through April 31. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by May 15, 2019.
New Lightouse Workshop: We are excited to be offering a new workshop In 2019 that focuses on the Lighthouses of the San Francisco Bay Area coastline with the beautiful landscape and ocean settings that they have become monuments to.
2019 Workshop Schedule is forming 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
On my way today to the Carrizo Plain, chasing the late wildflower superbloom. Went down an unplanned road and found 30 minutes of real commiseration with the sun, wind, clouds, hills, and dancing waves of grasses and flowers.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
by Stephen Johnson
When we look into the night sky, we are looking back in time. When we look deep into the complex organs of an orchid bloom, we are looking back in evolutionary time. I’m not sure exactly how these relate, but there is some notion forming in my mind that the present is even more transient than this moment passing to another. Everything we witness is old, very old in some fashion. Even in the specimen before me that has just bloomed, it is unfolding from millions of years evolving and genetic imperitive.
So much of what we do tries to hold time. Photography certainly does. It’s an impossible goal, but so commonly human. We write of things that occur, tell stories, take pictures, try to fix moments. And we do fix evidence, light, stories of what once was, sometimes only moments ago. Fiction is different, as is painting. Used in particular ways, images, still and moving hold evidence of what was. Just as that night sky is a tale of the distant past. The most recent light/time we see happened four and half years ago in the three-star Centauri System.
It’s no wonder fantasy and fiction hold such fascination. They side-step time, often traveling faster than light itself. They are our creations, not our records. As we try to record, maybe we are trying to cheat time, hold onto it. As I look back the pictures of my beautiful golden retriever Sandy, who has only been gone months, the photos cheat her death away, just a little. Perhaps painfully so, but nonetheless preciously. Nostalgia isn’t just the longing for a made-up simpler time, it is also a rebellion against time.
It is strange, as all of my life I’ve sought to record the preciousness of what I see, mostly the natural world, but also the beings I love. It makes me worry out loud, are my photographs also some instinctive need to hold this sacred earth in some sort of time stasis, immune from the the changes we are wreaking? That seems apocalyptic, but the thought did wander through my mind.
Our gift of this precious thin veil or air, water and life does seem evermore in danger. All of these photographs I’ve been looking at from space makes that fragility and rarity even more clear. The desolate lunar surface may be beautiful in its own way, but could never feel like home and being there would always be burdened by technology. The contemplation of wandering Mars has much more visceral beauty appeal, but what seems the complete absence of life, and the utter emptiness of rocks, and plains, mountains and valleys with no tress, no birds, little heat, and again complete dependence on technology has little real invitation. The huge explosive force needed to get there is another subject entirely. I’ve rarely been places to photograph completely dependent on technology to live. An airplane at 35,000 feet, a ship in the middle of a vast sea, are the closest experiences I know. On this planet, there are uninhabitable places. But for the most part, that is why we don’t go there. But they tempt us, and the views…
Part of the pull of photography is to see and share the rare or near impossible. A spark of lightening, looking back on the earth from beyond the moon, a time-lapse of a water droplet striking still water. Stepping out of our normal experience into visions we can’t normally take in. Our machines are yet crude, our capabilities limited, but the wonder we have already managed to bear witness to is often right on the edge of belief.
Maybe I’ve spent a little too much time with the space photographs lately, but it seems I am starting to see these images in new ways, and in turn seeing my work in new ways. The photons striking my retina from a star, light years away, actually came from that star, birthed from it. Sandy’s beautiful golden fur was touched by the light, the photons from that touch struck the silicon in my camera, emitting electrons we reconstitute as visual imitations. What we are actually doing is bizarre, clever, deeply strange, and may well be trying to cheat time.
My place here, amid all of this, is, curious. My role ambiguous, my passion for it all somewhat hard to fathom. But here I am, working away.
I keep going back the real things I’ve witnessed with my own eyes, and the journeys they have taken. The Apollo 11 Command Module comes to mind, as does the Space Shuttle Columbia. The reality of the Apollo 11 Command Module Maneuvering Thrusters seen above the moon (just to the right of the left antenna) and right before my eyes makes the journey and photography re-shape the mind a bit.
My brief experience with the Space Shuttle Columbia is more problematic. The adventure of space travel has always drawn me in. I could barely believe I was going out to the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in 1996. Although I had long sense chosen a life path that would not likely take me to space, that aspiration was close in my mind that day. Standing on the launch gantry, staring out on the tail-wing, looking and its high tech covering that resembled fiberglass, I clearly remember feeling a dread, thinking I have precious children to raise, a whole life still ahead of me, that I would not ride on this spacecraft. I’ve never forgotten that moment. When the Columbia was lost in 2003, that was of course not what was in the front on my mind, but the thought has had a haunting quality over the years.
At Stephen Johnson Photography
50 Years of Space Photography
38 large prints are up, The Space Imaging Tech display case is built. I’ve been finding some awesome schematics of the Apollo program and making prints. We’re delighted to show it all off. Please come and see the show. We are very proud of these exhibits. There are more prints to show than I have wall space, so there are a number of prints in bins to view and purchase.
I’m doing a talk at my studio on 50 Years of Space Photography on April 28, 2019 at 4pm.
The upcoming Photoshop Editing, Color Management class and Fine Art Printing workshops are open for enrollment now. Enroll while there is time and space!.
I’ve always been drawn to historical photographs and maps. I’ve been collecting 19th century books, engravings and now making scans of photos and maps. Printed on just the right paper and sheen, the reproductions are often vey special in their own right. So I’ve decided to make some of these prints available as I print them and discover more.
The first few are from the San Francisco Bay Area, local to my home in Pacifica, We’ll make them both available as 8x10 ($35-$45) and 11x14 ($75-$85) with larger sizes available for quote. The Gallery of current offerings where you can place orders can be found here.
Life Form opened in the Main Gallery at Stephen Johnson Photography on July 21, 2018. The show has been extended through August 2019. We have had many visitors come by the gallery since the opening. Many have then joined workshops and certainly helped build community. Please come see the show. Pass the word.
Seeking Good Venues for Life Form
We are seeking good venues to show this work. The Life Form Series is now available for museum and gallery exhibition after August 2019.
Don't forget to Check out our next workshops
Next Studio Workshop
Next Field Workshop
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 new Life Form Gallery and its new Life Form Portfolio, 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.
Print Mentor Program
Many of my mentoring students have wanted help with their printing, often to make sure they can produce a specific print. Consequently, I am starting a Print Mentoring Program that sets up a 2 hour time slot and the production of a finished print, all with the tutorial video of how we did it together. Prints can be up to 16x20 and on either Hahnemühle Museum Etching or Photo Rag Pearl paper. Fee is $500. Email for more information and to set up times.
Free and For Sale
Free Stuff (a few items still left)
I have been printing out nice copies of the Constitution and Bill of Rights on rich cotton paper. You are welcome to a copy if you come by the gallery.
Additionally, I rescued a few Besleler Enlargers, a 23c and 4x5, hoping to find good homes for them. Make an offer.
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
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
11x17 wire-bound book
New Pacifica Book
A collection of photographs in and around Pacifica California. Include a trail map.
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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