Daniel Johnson was Ansel Adam's first African American student in the mid 20th century in San Francisco at what would be come SFAI. He shot wonderful images of the Fillmore in its heyday.
Exhibit: David Johnson Photography Retrospective
Exhibit Curators: David J Christensen, Director, Harvey Milk Photo Center and Susanna Lucia Lamaina
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 6, 1–4p.m.
Dates: September 6 – October 19
Locations: Harvey Milk Photo Center, 50 Scott St.
Viewing hours: Tues-Thursday, 4-8 p.m., Sat & Sunday noon–4:30 p.m.
David Johnson, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., was the first African American student of Ansel Adams. In Adams’ school he was advised to photograph his own neighborhood and document the faces and places with which he was most familiar. He subsequently became an important chronicler of black life in San Francisco in the middle part of the 20th century.
After his return to Jacksonville, Florida in 1946 from the US Navy, David Johnson was certain of one thing, and that was that he wanted to become a photographer. What was uncertain was where he would find the opportunity to study photography. He happened to read an article in Popular Photography that Ansel Adams was to become the Director of Photography at the California School of Fine Arts (now San Francisco Art Institute). Johnson immediately wrote to Mr. Adams seeking a spot in the first class. He mentioned that he was a Negro. Ansel sent him a telegram saying the class was filled, and that it did not matter that he was a Negro, but his name would be placed on the list in the event someone cancelled .Within a week he got another message indicating there was a place in the class. Johnson arrived in San Francisco in 1946 shortly after his 19th birthday. Minor White met him at the ferry building in San Francisco and they took the streetcar to the Ansel Adams’ house. He stayed there until he could find a place to live in the Fillmore District, the black section of the city,a place that would shape his future.