An interest in strong images that build a moving narrative began with
stacks of National Geographics in my grandparents’ attic. Along the way,
I’ve been influenced by most every photograph, painting, or other
graphic image I’ve seen -- most especially by Jacob Riis, Cartier-Bresson
Atget, Walker Evans and Dorothea Lange, Group f/64, Bill Allard, and
As an artist, I approach the world as a flâneur, looking for images that
are intuitive and of the moment, rarely planned or staged…if my
photographs were words, I would like them to be Haikus.
My photography comes out of my training and work as an architect and as a sociologist; both create a combined vision of how individuals and society interact with our built and natural environments, an ecology of our culture. Through my camera I work to capture specific details that isolate a strong graphic element, reveal what otherwise might not be seen, create an insight into our common humanity, and, in the best case, combine to tell a story that stirs unexpected feelings and enriches our lives.
Currently, my focus is on capturing images easily overlooked, showing the present and preserving the past through photography. In the words of Diane Arbus: “I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn't photograph them.”
An ongoing series, Deserta in Desertum, (Abandoned in the Desert) is inspired by Thomas Church’s Course of Empire and Byron’s Childe Harold. This series records artifacts of man’s attempts to exploit the natural world and how these survive, (or don’t) over time. In ruins we see the intersection of man’s striving to conquer nature and nature’s response: converting indoors into outdoors. To keep our fast-changing world in perspective we must acknowledge that any creation decays over time.
To contribute to our artistic community, I have served on the Palm Springs Public Art Commission, the Board of the Riverside Art Foundation, and the Board of the Artists Council of the Palm Springs Art Museum. I regularly collaborate and shoot around California as a founding member of Fugawi Photographers.
Bachelor of Arts, University of Tulsa, Urban Sociology, 1966
Bachelor of Architecture, University of California, Berkeley, 1970
Hunter Johnson, Photography, 2013 - Present
LINC Housing Corporation, CEO, 1996 - 2014
Housing Consultant, 1987 - 1996, 2014 - Present
San Francisco and Emeryville Redevelopment Agencies, 1970 - 1986
Palm Springs Airport Commission, Commissioner, 2016 - 2019
Palm Springs Air Museum, Docent, 2014 - 2017
International Housing Partnership, US Delegate 2003 - 2014, Chair, 2014
California Housing Consortium, Founding Director, 1997 - 2014
Lifetime Achievement Award, California Housing Consortium, May 2016
Houser's Hero, Southern California Association of Nonprofit Housing, Sept 2015
Housing Champion, LINC Housing Corporation, July 2015
Regional Champion, Southern California Association of Governments, May 2007