Interior, IT University, Copenhagen. 2006. Hasselblad H2D39.

Stephen Johnson Photography News, Events & Info June 2006


Welcome to the June 2006 edition of the Stephen Johnson Photography Newsletter. As always, we hope you enjoy this edition.

Don't miss the
Fine Art Printing Hands-On Workshop July 27-30, 2006 in our new hands-on lab and the San Francisco Digitally Workshop
August 19-20, 2006.


...Neil Young Print to benefit the Bridge School

New! Lab Rental
Featured Print Offer
...Dogwood, Yosemite
Workshop News
...Fundamentals of Digital
...Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On
...San Francisco Digitally
...Mono Lake

Upcoming Events
...Monthly Critiques
...Maine Photo Workshops
The View From Here
...Photographic Books
Photographic Services
...Stephen Johnson Editions
Visit Us
Newsletter Administration


Special Limited Edition Neil Young Print to Aid Bridge School donation to school extended.

Online Galleries Guide Added

Gallery Events.....

Monthly Critiques

New! Lab Rental

June 2006

Dogwood in Bloom, Yosemite National Park. 1997
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper

Made with the 6MP Kodak DCS460M on a walk to Mirror Lake, the dramatic lighting always drew me to this photograph. It is one of my staff's favorites, I was so pleased with a recent print that I decided to make it available this month.

We're offering an 11x14 inch print, matted to 16x20 and ready to frame for $195, framed for an additional $75. This print at this price is offered through June 30. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by July 15th.

About the Program
Each month we offer a signed, original print, at a special price. This is a great opportunity to own a very affordable fine-art photograph. Orders are taken for a 30-day period, then printed and shipped within two weeks after the close. When it's over, it's over, these prints won't be available again at this price.

Featured Print Web page


Birth of a Photography Book

Producing a fine photography book is expensive, demands the highest quality printing available, and is always at odds with a real ability to sell and make money from them. Mass market "How To's" seem to be the successes of the moment, while high quality books of images are increasingly impossible to economically produce.

Perhaps this is as it should be, given our electronic age of the internet and DVDs. But I mourn the rarity of a truly beautifully reproduced book of remarkable images. It still happens, but publishers are gun-shy and artists often have to borrow money to help produce such work, with no sure return of even their investment.

It's true, that as books get out there, peripheral outcomes of increased print sales and better workshop enrollments might also come, but might not. It might also be true that the internet is a great equalizer and democratizer, but it has also become a great confuser and bastion of mediocrity. I see much good photographic work on the net, but tons more poorly imitating others aesthetics and not challenging their own imaginations or hearts. So far, the electronic age has not been a substitute for a fine book in hand.

I realize that my own prejudices toward ink on paper has roots in the world of my youth, in which books somehow became sacred tales of worlds I didn't know, and change I needed to imagine. That sense of preciousness alone makes me feel privileged to have made books. There is the tactile, the holding in your hand, the desire to witness the artists vision, although usually far short of an original print, in an affordable form, all of this makes me still love a bound book.

Photography books are not only expensive to produce, they are a considerable amount of work. Whether preparing for traditional offset printing, or hand printing your own in a very small edition, the time it takes to prepare or print the files can be daunting.

On hand-bound portfolios, the best way is to start small, letter-sized, a few photographs and simple pre-made binding from inkjet or album suppliers. As you become seduced by the results, gradually make the images bigger, put more design work into the presentations, write about the process and your motivations, even seek out a custom bindery to assemble your loose sheets into a beautiful clothbound edition.

On printed books where hundreds or thousands of copies are involved, a publisher and an offset or direct digital press need to be involved. Traditional roles in this process are shifting all over the place. Photographers are often now the designers, color separators, proofers and reproduction clients. This can be empowering, and overwhelming. These new roles also can be a threat to those that have traditionally done such work, and a disaster if the photographer doesn't really know what they are doing. Publishing contracts can be very complex and are quite naturally designed to benefit the publisher. There are a number of good resources to aid you through this process, including the Authors Guild.

A book forces distillation. You must choose only the best, and then often only are able to use a selection from those. If you are not going through a process of eliminating precious works to hone the group down to the extraordinary few, then the work may not be ready for publication. You do wonder why some books get published, just as you wonder why some movies get made. The answer likely revolves around someone thinking they could make money, had too much money, or really needed to get the work out and found a way. The crystal ball of what will sell has to drive most of the publishing world. Specialty presses, and university presses can sometimes deliver to the market what would be economically unviable work to other publishers. You need to find the right match between your work, the market, and the publisher.

As I am completing my fifth book, and then shift gear back to finish my fourth, I have had it with books for awhile, yet cannot resist their pull. It is a forum for ideas and the organization of your work into a cohesive body. It is often the final product of the work, the mark of a project completed, releasing us to go on. It can be a challenging and interesting relationship, it is certainly codependent with very different parts of an artists mind interacting.

Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
going to press mid-June, release mid-August 2006, finally.

A Trip to Denmark

My recent trip to keynote the Lennart Nilsson Conference in Copenhagen was a good journey. It yielded some time with my old friend Christian Poulsen, now running Hasselblad, and some great times meeting new people and students.

The IT University where the conference was held is constructed with a wonderful openess and unusual main hall, from which our header photograph in this months Newsletter is derived. We also hung a small show of my work, and a great selection of Lennart Nilsson's. Thanks to Goecker Professional Imaging for the use of their Epson 7800.

I wandered around town with the new Hasselblad H2D39 and was quite impressed. I found that the gray days I encountered required a trip, but that is how I usually work anyway.

Meeting Lennart Nilsson was a real pleasure. I have admired his electron microscopy for decades. He was very complimentary about my work, which felt like a real honor. It seemed like the first of many conversations.

The conference was conducted in Danish, which made it a bit difficult to follow, apparently for many of the Swedes in the audience as well. The people were friendly and most welcoming.

I had the pleasure of being offered a tour around town by student Sally Megyessi from the conference, which made my last day in Copenhagen wonderful. The views of the tiled rooftops, the old streets in modern times, the wonderful uptopian community of Christiania, all made the day quite a treat.

Thanks to Anders Jaegenø, Thomas Carlslund and the Danish Photojournalism group for the invitation and the fine reception.

a small portfolio of work from the trip


We are now offering rental time in our new lab on an hourly basis during our normal business hours.

Tuesday-Friday 10am to 5pm.
$25 per hour, plus a per print charge

Includes full access to calibrated monitors, fast G5 Macs, Epson pigment inkjet printers, 5000°k viewing lights and color profile creation hardware and software.

Appointments can be made by calling 650 355-7507.
Familiarity with Mac OSX and Photoshop CS2 recommended. Staff tutorials available for additional charge.

A Great Opportunity!
  • Fully equipped lab
  • Make your own printer profiles
  • Finally have access to the equipment you need

* Upcoming Workshops

Fundamentals of Digital Photography
September 16-17, 2006

This is an exciting exploration of photography's powerful new digital tools with one of the most knowledgeable artists in the field. This class is designed to provide you with the background and understanding to transition your work into the digital realm. The digital basics are covered here, in real world terms, with care to make sure the concepts are understood and the complications simplified. Those basics are built on to tackle the thorny issues of camera design and choice, data storage, color management and printing.

This class gives you experience printing your files using the best tools and the best methodologies (and understanding them more thoroughly than you ever thought possible), but more importantly, critically evaluating your prints and figuring out what you need to do to coax them toward perfection.

-Susan Beveridge

Fine-Art Digital Printing: A Hands-on Workshop
July 27-30, 2006

This 4 day workshop focuses exclusively on Fine-Art Digital Printing, primarily using Epson inkjet printers. Concentration will be on inkjet printing with color pigments and black/gray ink combinations on coated and rag papers. Learn from the digital pioneer how he obtains his impressive results during four days of lectures and printing in their new state-of-the-art digital lab.

We will cover workflow issues, color management, correcting color casts, adjustment layers, custom profile generation, editing and inspection. There being no magic bullet to making good prints, the workshop will also explore old fashioned testing, careful color judgments and interactive honing in on the best print possible.

Steve and his assistants will work with you to tune your printing into the vision you have of what it should be, always guiding you toward asking the most of the media. Each student will have their own 13x19 desktop printer, as well as network access to large-format printers. Paper will be supplied by Hahnemühle and Epson.

The Landscape of the California
San Francisco Digitally
August 19-20, 2006

$750 ($800 with dinner)
Transportation provided from our Studio.
Enrollment limited to 10 people

A two day digital photography workshop exploring some of San Francisco's most visually interesting areas. We'll spend time in the Presidio with its old forts and forests, downtown skyscraper cityscapes, the Palace of Fine Arts World's Fair remnants, Fort Point with its spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, (and possibly the Marin Headlands) and the urban eden of Golden Gate Park. We will also take in the restored Cliff House and its historic Camera Obscura. Much time will be spent walking and looking, knowing we will be in the area for awhile, giving you the freedom to explore, but also keeping help nearby.

Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra
October 5-8, 2006

The stark and beautiful scenery of this legendary lake is unlike any other landscape in the world. Its alkaline water, desert vistas, volcanoes and unusual tufa towers make it a remarkable place. These four days will be a dynamic combination of a traditional landscape photography workshop while diving deep into the digital age. Technical and aesthetic considerations will be discussed in detail, while we explore this high desert lake and its strange environs. A full moon will greet the second day of the workshop.

Zion National Park
September 2-4, 2006

Zion National Park with it's spectacular cliffs and wild rock formations will be the site for this 3 day field workshop.
The trip is designed to be a complete immersion in landscape photography and its digital evolution with the pioneer in digital landscape photography. Participants are responsible for their own transportation and lodging.

*Death Valley dates for 2007 posted: January 13-16, 2007

* Check out our workshop web page for information on all of our workshops, including both our field and studio workshops.

UPCOMING EVENTS with Stephen Johnson

Monthly Critiques
next: Thursday evening July 20, 2006

Feedback on our work has proven critical to many of us involved in the arts. In this emerging age of digital photography, it is hard to find people knowledgeable in the technology and with a background and experience in the fine arts.

After many requests, we are initiating monthly critiquing sessions at our studio in Pacifica, California. The session will be conducted from 7 until 10pm (if needed), and refreshments will be available. Attendance will be limited to 10 students wishing to show work, others may attend to listen and learn. Prints or digital files are acceptable forms of presentation. Projection will be available. Registration requires the pre-submission of sample work.
The Maine Photographic Workshops this Summer

The Digital Landscape July 2-8, 2006
Fine Art Digital Printing July 9-15, 2006


Digital Portraits by
The Studios of Stephen Johnson Photography

  • Instant Feedback
  • Special prices
  • Satisfaction or no fees

Stephen Johnson Editions Announced


  • Artwork Copying
  • Custom Printing
  • Custom Profiles


To purchase original prints, see:

11x14 pigment on rag paper $450 from existing prints

•Information on Stephen Johnson's Original Prints

With a New Eye: The Digital National Parks Project


Please come visit us at our gallery and see our original prints in person. The subtle detail of the prints and the beautiful texture of the fine art paper have to be seen to be understood. And while you're here, browse through our books, cards, posters, and specially priced prints.

We're happy to mail you a copy of our product catalog, just send a note to or call us.

We're located at:

Stephen Johnson Photography at the Pacifica Center for the Arts
1220-C Linda Mar Boulevard, Creekside Suites, 5-7
Pacifica, CA 94044
(650) 355-7507

Pacifica Center for the Arts from Linda Mar Boulevard

We're open by appointment. To find us, use our map online at:

Map to studio
Studio directions and site layout.


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Photographs and Text Copyright ©2006, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.