On-Press with the New Book.

Stephen Johnson Photography News, Events & Info August 2006


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

Our biggest news is that my new book Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography is now shipping. Join us for our big book party on August 19 or order your copy now. Don't miss the
Zion Workshop Sept. 1-3, 2006.


...Big Book Party
...Book orders now accepted
New! Lab Rental
Featured Print Offer
...Italian Alps
Workshop News
...Fundamentals of Digital
...Hands-On Fine Art Digital Printing
Mono Lake

Upcoming Events
...Monthly Critiques
...PhotoPlus New York
The View From Here
...On Digital Photography
Photographic Services
...Stephen Johnson Editions
Visit Us
Newsletter Administration


Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography

Now Shipping!

Special Edition Announced
Limited Edition Slip-cased edition with original print

Gallery Events.....

Big Book Party
Saturday August 19, 2006, 4-9pm
The 167th. Anniversary of Photography
Please RSVP
  • free poster with every book purchase
  • music
  • refreshments
  • good friends

Monthly Critiques
New! Lab Rental

Website Additions....

Online Galleries Guide Added

August 2006

Ridgeline and Clouds. Italian Alps. 2006
11x14 Pigment Print on Rag paper
Flying around the Italian Alps for 5 hours in a little two-person helicopter with the door off was a real trip. REALLY COOL! Thanks so much to Giulio Olivotto for the ride.

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 August 31. We'll be taking orders until then, and shipping them out by September 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.

Italian Alps Flight
Featured Print Web page


Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
The New Book

Introduction to the Book
We are in the Stone Age of digital photography. We’ve figured out how to make some tools, but it is just now beginning to dawn on us what we might do with them. The journey has just begun, photography is still a very young art, and exciting changes are underway.

I have been teaching photography since 1977. Since 1988, I have been lecturing on the subject of the influence and empowerment of computer technology on photography. An important part of my life’s work has been about sharing what I’ve learned in the hope of helping others find artistic expression and further their social concerns.

This book is essentially a distillation of what I’ve been teaching over the last 25 years. The advances in digital imaging have made me concentrate on the progress and effects of this transition, and to consider some issues that arise from these changes. I’ve also often been frustrated at the concentration on the technical aspect of digital photography with so little discussion of the aesthetics and heart behind the image making.

The reader should know a bit about my own taste in photography. I’ve admired the work of many photographers, and no doubt have been influenced by their work. Timothy O’Sullivan and Carleton Watkins, Eugene Atget, Lewis Hine and Dorothea Lange, Eugene Smith, Edward Weston and Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, and Philip Hyde have all helped show me what photography can be and inspired me to try. Friends like Robert Dawson, Ted Orland, Peter Goin, Al Weber, Dave Bohn, Lyle Gomes, Don Worth, and many others have helped make my work what it is. Contemporary admirations run from Robert Adams to Jerry Uelsmann. There is so much fine work out there, it’s hard not to take up the whole page.

My subject here is photography. This work was written in 2005, so I can’t help but focus on photography’s transition into digitized electronic images. But the subject remains photography, and the “why we take pictures” is just as important as the “how.” The interaction between the photographic technology and why we photograph occupies a fair amount of my attention.

Photography has always been about the highest technology of its time. It is no surprise we are now in the age of digital photography. It is also true that, at its best, photography does ride that crest where technology and art intersect. That intersection is part of what makes photography so fascinating for so many. But the deepest engagement that photography can bring remains its ability to capture and hold a moment before the lens. In this age of digital manipulation, that fundamental fact must be remembered.

This book assumes intervention in the image, not for the purpose of distortive manipulation, but to assert control over your work. It is an Adobe Photoshop–centric work, since Photoshop is currently the most common professional digital photographic tool. But the focus is not creating special effects. For those readers seeking guidance in image compositing and the myriad effects possible with digital imaging, other books should be sought.

I want this to be a holistic work that embraces the state of photographic tools and techniques, blended with some suggestions and experiences on why I make photographs, together with a consideration of the empowerment that even this Stone-Age digital technology enables. I don’t imagine it’s comprehensive; it is a collection of the subjects I thought worth including. No doubt I’ll think of more as time passes. This is a sincere effort to make this the best book I knew how to make, but please forgive any errors or omissions that made it through our editing and review process, or became outdated as a result of ever evolving technology.

I hope you find the subjects as fascinating as I have and hope that this book helps you along your paths forward, perhaps backward, and certainly on occasion, sideways.

Stephen Johnson
Pacifica, California
April 2006

August 2006
So here we are, with a book in hand that started as a printed record of how I had already been teaching for 15 years. It has been molded and reshaped over two years into what I hope will be a great source of information and perspective, cause sharp discussion and perhaps even be a major influence in broadening photographic curriculum and study in this digital age.

Stephen Johnson on Digital Photography
Release August 19, 2006, finally.

Complete Table of Contents as pdf
On-Press in Italy with the new book

Big Book Party

Order Now for a signed copy!

First 100 copies can also select a free poster! (shipping extra)


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.

Zion National Park
September 2-4, 2006

Join us on a three-day adventure through the visual wonderlands of southern Utah's Zion National Park. The trip is designed to be a complete immersion into landscape photography and its digital evolution with the pioneer in digital landscape photography. Extremes of brightness and shadow, distance, haze, perspective and form can make Zion a real challenge to photograph, but are at the heart of its beauty as well. Thoughtful seeing and good use of digital tools assist greatly in this process, and the workshop will emphasize those aspects of digital imaging and processing for which this location creates such a unique need.

We'll work on creating photographs which succeed in carrying some feel of what is special about this place with a visual integrity that speaks to you. The place was named "Zion" as a sanctuary by the early settlers, and was a holy place to the Native Americans before that. Zion is more than just a scenic national park; it is at once wild and unknown to most visitors, while at the same time managing to be comforting and intimate, becoming nature at its most intriguing. If you haven't been to Zion, imagine huge rocky outcrops, similar to Yosemite, but much closer together. There are towering red sandstone cliffs accented by pines and chartreuse cottonwood foliage; mossy seeps and creeks; sandstone in every color from mustard to raspberry, eroded into sensuous forms; petrified dunes with their layers, angles and striations; aspens, slot canyons, slickrock, sage; wide views and precious details. Infusing your reactions to all this into your photographs will be the second focus of the workshop.

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 cap the second day of the workshop.

Fine-Art Digital Printing Hands-On
October 19-22, 2006

This workshop focuses exclusively on improving your fine-art digital printing in our new Digital Lab, 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, printing, and feedback in the studio.

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 judgements and interactive honing in on the best print possible.

Professional Image Editing
Nov. 30-Dec 3, 2006

Stephen Johnson Studios & Gallery
Pacifica, California.

Four days exploring the tools really needed by photographers for fundamental image control and finishing. Camera RAW acquisition, Color Correction, Sharpening, careful tonal control, and preserving options into archive versions of your files will be our primary concerns. Software concentration will be mainly on Adobe Photoshop, but will look at other tools as well. A number of images with various challenges will be worked through to satisfaction during the course of the day. This seminar is not about compositing or faking photographs, nor is it for beginners, as basic familiarity with Photoshop is required.

*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 August 17, 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.

PhotoPlus New York
November 2-4, 2006

High-End Digital Workflow Nov, 2006
*Large Format Fine Art Digital Printing Nov, 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 michelle@sjphoto.com 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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Last updated on 8/5/06. Mail comments to: info@sjphoto.com
Photographs and Text Copyright ©2006, Stephen Johnson. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.