Nick Johnson
Artist Gallery

This work is created in the studio using rocks and flagstones.  The flagstones are often cut into shapes, chiseled and sanded, and all of the stones are painted to remove color variations that can be distracting in the final print.  The light source is one light bulb shining through a white sheet which is stretched over a wooden frame, much like a large soft box.  I use no fill lights or fill cards in order to preserve the feeling of natural light and avoid the look of studio lighting. The photographs are all made with a 4 x 5 camera and printed on Ilford multigrade fiber based paper. There is no darkroom trickery used in making these images.  The photographs with reflections are created by placing the stones in a large tray of water.

 The idea to build my subjects grew out of a difficulty in finding things to photograph that looked and felt like what I could see in my mind.  Over the past 28 years I have experimented with many different materials including Styrofoam and wood with various mixtures of paint and sand on them which seemed to work visually but looked too manmade.  I then went on to work for a number of years with cement which I would pour into molds which were constructed out of cardboard and plywood.  This resulted in a series of photographs which I felt were somewhat closer to my vision, but still lacked the organic feel that I finally achieved with the flagstones.  What has motivated me to create this work is a belief that there are new levels of dimensions and harmonies to be found within the formal visual language.


Nick Johnson has been a fine art photographer for over 30 years. He has been teaching photography at the New England School of Photography for the past 15 years, and is the Director of the school’s Center for  Photographic Exhibitions (CPE).  He has an extensive exhibition record including pieces in the permanent collections of the Danforth and Fitchburg Art Museums.  He is represented by the Focus Gallery in Cohasset, MA.  His work appeared in the March/April 2004 issue of Black and White magazine and his one person show at the Hunt Cavanagh Gallery in Providence RI was reviewed in the December/January 2007 issue of Art New England magazine . Nick works exclusively with a large format camera and in his teaching he puts a strong emphasis on the Zone System and the creative freedom afforded by having a high level of technical skill.  All of his photographs are created in the studio using slate and flagstones. 


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