Tag Archives: photography


What is Art? Welcome To Russ Johnson’s Photo Blog

Is it Art? Museum of Modern Art, New York

Is it Art? Museum of Modern Art, New York (c) Russell Johnson

Everyone loves pictures. Pinterest proves that. Some is art, some is soup, goes the famous line about Andy Warhol (Check out the commemorative Warhol soup cans on sale at Target). I, like most photographers, try to embrace both. After all, the Medicis commissioned some of the great works of European art ordering themselves painted into the scenes.

I have been shooting pictures seriously since I was about eleven. My first job came from a department store, which hired me to photograph competitors’ merchandise displays. Little did they know that that innocuous little fella, right out of South Park, was really as a secret agent.

In middle school I was befriended by a friend of my father, a former boxer turned boxing photographer. Ed was one of those cigar-chomping icons who balanced their Speed Graphic cameras with their huge flashguns on a ring’s canvas and grabbed stop-motion pictures of sweat and blood flying as men beat each others brains out. He was deaf from a blow to the head. Ed gave me an old press camera and helped me set up a darkroom. My mom hated him. A bad influence, she told my dad. But Ed taught me photography AND a punch that nailed the neighborhood bully.

I studied art and photography in college, went on to become a writer and TV news reporter. making e a deal with one of my cameramen (unknown to the union) to shoot some of my own stories. In the ’80s I started a company (Travelmedia) to do media for the tourism industry, including books, films, web sites, video and film. I hired many camera people and photographers over the years, but I LOVED doing it myself.  Work and pleasure have taken me to 58 countries and hundreds of cities and states.

Now, while I continue to take assignments, I am taking the time and pleasure of looking at people and places with new eyes, trying to avoid the cliches that have become travel photography. In this blog and gallery, I will show you new work and look back into my files to have a fresh look at old subjects.  Most of these shots may not work in travel brochures. They are not meant to.

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