LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph

About Profoundly Human


Presented by National Geographic magazine

Gallery Opening Reception Event – Thursday, June 7 | 5-6pm

There is outer light and inner light. A good photographer needs both. Sometimes the light in Lynn Johnson’s photographs is subdued to the point of darkness itself. Or perhaps it seems that way as she turns her lens on the shadowlands of the human condition. “I don’t feel like it’s dark. I feel like it’s real,” she says. But then her light turns softly radiant—a benediction itself.

The body of her work for National Geographic, twenty-one published stories, is illuminated by her belief that an image is more than just a conjunction of form, color and composition. Small wonder, then, that the work reflects her own inner light.

Photography, she believes, needs—no, demands—a mission. “I think we’re supposed to improve the world,” she says. The idea of the photojournalist as dispassionate observer is discarded. Johnson, in the course of her journey as a photographer, has given herself
permission to step over the line that many journalists are reluctant to cross.

It is a complicated stance and not without controversy. To those who say she has an agenda, she would agree. “I don’t want to be afraid of crossing the boundary into caring,” she says. “I want to stand in the middle of a room where people are laughing,
crying and dancing. I want immersion instead of arm’s length distance.”

That caring is the subtext to every frame; because of it, her images reach deep into the cave of the heart and draw out our most profound hopes and fears.
-Cathy Newman