Who Is Bill Johnson?

I give people a voice to tell their story about their business, their cause, or their life through still images, video, and sound recordings that can be used in movies, print exhibitions, and publications.

Listening to people, I hear life stories, aspirations, disappointments, different ways of living, and shared experiences. I feel joy when my craftsmanship in making prints, books, and multimedia presentations results in a viewer experiencing similar emotions.

I seek to pay for my photography through commissions, pay-per-view movies, and print sales. My style has been described as ‘painterly’ and viewers see empathy for others in my stories. I use the beauty of nature, fashion, dance, or music to get people to watch and then reveal deeper life experiences through the dialogue.

I am inspired by people who have commitment to their work and an ability to connect with others on an emotional level: Bruce Davidson, John Dunn, Sylvia Earle, Ed Kashi, Michael Kenna, Robert Glenn Ketchum, Sylvia Plachy, and Peter Turnley.

“I give people a voice to tell their story about their business, their cause, or their life.”

Why do you like to make art?

I get goose bumps when I’ve just captured a great moment.  All of my senses are heightened waiting for the light or some piece of the overall scene to come into balance or catching an insightful comment from a person or recording an interesting environmental sound.

I feel joy when my craftsmanship in making prints, books, and multimedia presentations results in a viewer experiencing similar emotions.

What subjects do you prefer?  Why?

I have become fascinated with people, interviewing and photographing them in their environments.  Listening to people, I hear life stories, aspirations, disappointments, about different ways of living, and shared experiences.

What processes and techniques do you use?  Why?

Shooting 35mm stills and video while simultaneously collecting audio recordings is about listening, movement, working fast and being completely aware of my surroundings.  I combine sound and images in multimedia presentations through Final Cut Pro.

How is your work different from others?

I have a painterly sense of color, an awareness of compositional balance, and an ability to talk to people on a personal level.

What do you see in your art work?

I see profound beauty in nature and dignity in people expressed with a sense of composition — images in balance.

What do other people say they see?

My work has been described as ‘painterly’ or from places others would fear to tread.  Viewers see empathy for others.

What are your goals and aspirations as an artist?

I seek to pay for my photography through photography and to make objects that people cherish.

Who or what inspires you?

I am inspired by Bruce Davidson for his ability to build trust with strangers and create street photography over many decades.

I am inspired by my dear friend, John Dunn, who for 85 years has lived the uncompromising life of a skilled artist working in paintings, drawings, sculpture and ceramics.

I am inspired by Sylvia Earle for her independent daring and intellectual brilliance in ocean exploration and advocacy.

I am inspired by Ed Kashi for his ability to see the background around the main subject and his continual quest for self-expression.

I am inspired by Michael Kenna for his craftsmanship and refined sense of essential elements in visual harmony in his black and white landscape photography.

I am inspired by Robert Glenn Ketchum for his environmental advocacy and ability to have his landscape photographs translated into silk tapestries.

I am inspired by Sylvia Plachy for her ability to see patterns and sequences of images out of a body of work.

I am inspired by Peter Turnley for his ability to quickly establish rapport with strangers that lets him into their lives to make photo journalistic images.