George W. Johnson – Profile

George Johnson photographed in South Carolina at the turn of the 1900s, when photography was still a fairly new practice. He was not what would be considered a professional photographer; he was a salesman by profession. Nevertheless, his photographs of Charleston at the beginning of the 20th century became an important record of Charleston. He photographed more as a hobby than as a professional, but his work stands out  for appearing at a time when photography was a rarity.

Johnson's work documented everyday life and street scenes. He chronicled events that would become remembered as important historical events. Much of his work is kept in the Gibbes Gallery in Charleston as well as the South Carolina Historical Society. His glass plate negatives are still preserved today, though he still is not a widely known artist.

"When I look into the faces of Johnson’s photographs, I see a kinship with those who walked the same streets and felt the same Atlantic breezes as I feel today."

-John Carrol Doyle, an Impressionist painter from charleston
(from this review of On The Eve of the Charleston Renaissance)

For Your Bookshelf


On The Eve of The Charleston Renaissance 

Cover of On The Eve of the Charleston Renaissance


On The Eve of the Charleston Renaissance is a collection of black-and-white photographs taken by George W. Johnson. It is one of the few collections of his photographs.