For fifteen years, Kelly Johnson has been documenting progressive movements.
From the climate movement, to Black Lives Matter, the fight to increase minimum wage, Kelly Johnson aims to show humans healing the sick systems and institutions we ourselves created.
We recently sat down with Kelly to discuss her time as an artist-in-residence at Dickerman Prints, as well as her thoughts on photography, life, and the revolution. To experience Kelly's work, please join us for the opening night reception of The Residents.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
6:00 - 9:00pm
DICKERMAN PRINTS GALLERY: What portfolio or project are you currently working on during your residency at Dickerman Prints?
KELLY JOHNSON: "I am working on a project called Direct Action, depicting activists working for various issues by stopping business as usual."
DPg: Can you tell us one of your favorite stories from your life as a photographer?
KJ: "One of my favorite times I experienced as an activist/documentary photographer was my time at #Occupy SF. I slept in a tent in downtown SF for 3 months and built relationships with activists all over the bay."
DPg: I’m sure, like most of us, you have a point in time where photography caught a hold of you. When did you become a photographer in earnest?
KJ: "As a child I moved 18 times by the time I was 18 so I was always saying goodbye to friends and family so I was always taking photos. When I was 21 I started working at a lab and getting shooting gigs and started my own business and one day I realized omg I’m a photographer. I was 25 at the time and have been shooting professionally ever since."
DPg: Out of your movement portfolio, do you have one in particular that was your favorite to shoot?
KJ: "The bay bridge image is my most popular and famous image and I was very honored to be invited to that action. I will say I was so excited that I did not shoot that much that day so I was lucky to get such an iconic image."
DPG: You do abstract painting as well. Which medium do you prefer and why?
KJ: "My abstract work is photoshop collage of images that I do various things to in photoshop. I have worked in oils and acrylic with collage but photoshop is so fun and unlimited."
DPG: Do you have any suggestions for those who want to get involved with shooting movements?
KJ: "The reason I document the progressive movement is because it is the single most important movement in human history. The life and health of the species is resting on the success or failure of the humans who stand up to save us all. If we fail we are done here. So my advice is care."
DPG: Any new projects that you have in the works?
KJ: "After being in the bay for 5 years now, I have decided to restart my portrait business here in the bay. I am very interested in working with local artists and doing editorial portraits that are interesting and unique, that the artist and I build in collaboration. I have already started working with a couple artists but have yet to start shooting."
To see more of Kelly Johnson's work and for contact information, please visit her website.