Lynn Johnson – PhotoWings Interviews


Lynn Johnson: PhotoWings Interview


Lynn Johnson was hired as the first woman staff photographer at the Pittsburgh Press. She stayed at the newspaper for seven years, and during that time she convinced the editors of the Sunday newspaper to let her do photo essays. Since then, she has climbed the radio antenna atop Chicago’s John Hancock Tower, clambered around scaffolding with steelworkers, and lived among fishermen on Long Island and guerrillas in Vietnam. She has done in-depth portraits of celebrities including Stevie Wonder, Michael Douglas, Mr. Rogers, and the entire U.S. Supreme Court. Johnson is a National Geographic Photography Fellow and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. She is known for shooting elusive subjects—language, disease, rape, water—and for asking tough questions. Her gripping photo essays of a family struggling with AIDS, of children coping with the brain death of their mother, and transgender teens are classics of the genre. Among the pieces she has shot for National Geographic: the environmental issues surrounding cooking on open fires, our attitudes toward death, and the medical uses of marijuana. Johnson’s work has been exhibited at the Annenberg Space for Photography, the House of Memory in Milan, Italy, and Visa pour l’image (International Festival of Photojournalism) in Perpignan, France. She has led workshops for refugees in Colombia and for young people at National Geographic Photo Camps. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The Eddie Adams Workshop is the only tuition-free photojournalism seminar of its kind. One hundred participants selected solely on the merit of their pictures team up with top professional photographers and editors for a four-day gathering that includes assignments, portfolio reviews, panel discussions and presentations. The Workshop began in 1988 with the goal to redress the exclusivity of professional opportunities by accepting students based on their demonstrated skills, and not on their ability to pay tuition. The all-volunteer faculty and staff, many of whom are alumni, are passionate about the mission and donate their time and expertise. The Workshop has an unparalleled history of nurturing talent, exchanging ideas and building relationships.

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We sat down to talk with award-winning photojournalist Lynn Johnson at the Eddie Adams Workshop, and in this video, she gives advice for early career photographers about creating visual stories and finding the right subject to work on.

Award-winning photojournalist Lynn Johnson sat down with us at the Eddie Adams Workshop to talk about the critical importance of visual storytellers and their efforts to give a voice to the invisible and powerless.

The life of a photojournalist can be hard and dangerous, and none are immune from the detrimental effects of PTSD. In this video, award-winning photojournalists Mary Calvert, MaryAnne Golon, Ron Haviv, Lynn Johnson, John Moore, and Nichole Sobecki give expert advice about how they deal with low moments and cultivate resilience.


Additional Links:


Nat Geo - “Lynn Johnson on the Heroic Nature of Humanity”

Nat Geo - “‘Hate Kills’: Photos and Insights From Photographer Lynn Johnson”

DP Review – “Interview: Lynn Johnson on photography as a bridge between people”

New York Times  – “Migration Stories from the Stoops of Pittsburgh”