- MFA, Savannah College of Art and Design (Visual & Communication)
- BA, Houghton College (Visual & Communication)
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Steven David Johnson is a conservation photographer and Professor of Visual and Communication Arts at EMU in the Shenandoah Valley. His photography of the natural world has appeared in Orion, Nature Conservancy Magazine, Ranger Rick, Virginia Wildlife, National Science Teachers Association Press books, and numerous conservation publications and journals.
Steve is vice-president of the Virginia Wilderness Committee. When he's not in the office, you’ll probably find him crouched next to a vernal pool photographing Appalachian salamanders.
You can view more of his photography at:
I’m passionate about the idea that art can help name the problem of alienation and can help bring forth authentic community. As a teacher, I’m interested in mentoring students as they add their voices to this community of namers.
Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts
- (2022) Beneath Vernal Pools: presentation at the Wayne Theater for The Virginia Museum of Natural History
- (2021) Beneath Vernal Pools: seminar presentation for Calvin University (Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies and the Ecosystem Preserve and Native Gardens)
- (2021) Vernal Pools - An Expanded Vision: colloquium presentation for EMU
- (2021) Life in Vernal Pools: recorded multimedia presentation for the Amphibian Foundation
- (2018) Just Below the Surface: Photographing Life in Creeks, Rivers and Vernal Pools. Webinar for North American Nature Photography Association
- (2017) Conservation Photography. Presentation and workshop at NEPARC (Northeast Partners Amphibian and Reptile Conservation).
- (2017) Just Below the Surface. Presentation at the North American Nature Photography Association Summit in Jacksonville.
- (2015) Conservation Photography 101. Presentation at the North American Photography Association Summit in San Diego.
- (2013) Below the Surface. Multimedia presentation on underwater photography for Shenandoah Photographic Society.
- (2010) Textbook reviewer for Focal Press. Reviewed the full manuscript of Color Photography (5th edition) by Robert Hirsch.
- (2006, June) Panel respondent for visiting scholar, David Whisnant, at National Endowment for the Humanities Appalachian Studies institute, Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA (invited).
Exhibits, Performances and Productions
- (2021, June) Stunning Macro Photos Shot Within the Unique World of Vernal Pools. Online Exhibition with PetaPixel.
- (2021, February) Documenting Vernal Pool Life - An Extended Vision. Solo faculty exhibit at EMU
- (2020, September) Life in Vernal Pools. Group faculty exhibit at EMU
- (2019) Vernal Pools. Exhibition at Asbury United Methodist Church, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
- (2019) Vernal Pools. Exhibition at Community Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
- (2018) Vernal Pools. Exhibition at EMU Margaret Gehman Gallery (photography by Steven David Johnson. Sound design by Ryan Keebaugh).
- (2015, Fall) Of Frogs and Toads. My photographs of amphibian life appeared as large scale prints to accompany the fall theater production of Frog and Toad at EMU. This same series will appear at the Staunton Library in June of 2016.
- (2014, January) Rock. Lichen. Forest. Exhibition at EMU Margaret Gehman Gallery (photography by Steven David Johnson. Text and illustrations by Anna Maria Johnson).
- (2012, July/August) The Dynamics of Water. Solo exhibition at the James Madison University Edith J. Carrier Arboretum Frances Plecker Education Center, Harrisonburg, VA (14 photographs, invited).
- (2011, September) Down to the River. Group exhibition at EMU (15 photographs).
- (2011, August) The Dynamics of Water. Solo exhibition at the Valley Council for the Arts Smith House Gallery, Harrisonburg, VA (26 photographs, invited).
- (2011, February) Leaf. Flower. Spiral. The Flow of Energy in the Natural World. Group exhibit at the Blandy Experimental Farm, State Arboretum of Virginia (7 photographs).
- (2011, Winter) Iceberg, Coast of Nunatsiavut. Part of a group exhibit sponsored by the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley at Clementine Café, Harrisonburg, VA (photograph).
- (2010, August) VACA group faculty show. Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, VA.
- (2010, Spring) The Ambient Group purchased five images to be printed and framed for the new Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, VA.
- (2010) faithunboxed.org, The Washington Post featured Faith Unboxed, a site that I designed for WMRA’s Martha Woodroof http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/guestvoices/2010/04/can_we_talk_about_faith_not_religion.html
- (2009, June) Traces of place. Two-person exhibit (photography), Harrisonburg League of Therapists, VA.
- (2009, May) The King of Cootes Store (photograph). Clementine Battle of the Arts (juried show), Harrisonburg, VA.
- (2009, Fall) Eliza and the Iceberg, Magdalena and the Gourd (two photographs). Houghton College Alumni Exhibition, Houghton, NY.
- (2009, June) Mountain Laurel, Trout Pond, WV (two photographs). VMRC juried art exhibit, Harriaonburg, VA.
- (2008, October) Virginia Journal. Group exhibit (seven photographs), Eastern Mennonite University Hartzler Gallery.
- (2008, March) Traces of place. Two person exhibit (photography) and artist’s talk, Davison Gallery, Roberts Wesleyan College, North Chili, NY.
- (2007, October 13-November 9) Traces of place. Group faculty exhibit (photography), Sadie Hartzler Library Gallery, Eastern Mennonite University.
- (2007, Spring) Oregon extension video. Produced and directed a promotional video for the Oregon Extension, a semester program in the Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon. Revised with new footage in 2009 and 2013.
- (2006, March 13-April 7) “The creatures among us. Solo exhibit (photography), Sadie Hartzler Library Gallery, Eastern Mennonite University.
Church, Community and Professional Service
- (2021-2022) Advisory Board member for Girls Who Click - Nature Photography and Conservation Organization
- (2018-2022) Vice President of Virginia Wilderness Committee
- (2015-2022) Board member for Virginia Wilderness Committee
- (2020-2021) Community Mennonite Church AV advisory committee
- (2015-2016, 2020) Window to the Woods. Photographic e-newsletter for Wild Virginia
- (2015) Conservation Photography 101. Presentation for the Rotary Club in Rockingham County
- (2015) Guest speaker on Conservation Photography for Paulette Moore’s media course at the Corcoran
- (2014) Rock. Lichen. Forest. Multimedia presentation at Community Mennonite Church
- (2014) Photographer for Community Mennonite Church photo directory
- (2013, Spring) Mentor for Student Directed Learning project in Nature Photography at Pinehurst School, Lincoln, Oregon
- (2012, Fall) Taught Nature Photography workshop for Greensprings Mountain Festival fundraiser in Lincoln, Oregon
- (2010-2012) Photographed pastoral staff portraits at Community Mennonite Church.
- (2009-2011) Venture Club sponsor at Community Mennonite Church
- (2008, 2005, Fall) Careers in digital media and photography. Presentation on Digital Media Careers at Eastern Mennonite High School (invited).
- (2008) Designed new church logo for CMC.
- (2007-2008): Advisory board for Rock & Sling: A Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith.
- (2006-2008) Shenandoah Anabaptist Science Society Steering Committee member. Designed newsletters and maintained Web site.
- (2007, Spring) The Children of CMC. Photography/Multimedia presentation at Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, VA.
- (2006, Fall) Documentary photography for Mennofolk festival, Harrisonburg, VA.
- (2006, Summer) Estonoa wetlands. Photography book for the Estonoa Wetlands Project in southwestern Virginia.
- (2006, Summer) Photographic documentation of Kurdish children at a community celebration to assist the Standing With Our Neighbors project in Harrisonburg, VA.
Honors, Awards and Grants
- (2022, Summer) EMU Summer Teaching Grant to create new Honors Colloquium
- (2020, 2021) Closeup Photographer of the Year - Top 100 Finalist
- (2017, Summer) EMU Summer Grant to create exhibition on vernal pools
- (2015, Spring) EMU Quality Service Award
- (2015, Summer) EMU Summer Grant to photographically document Hellbender research in central Appalachia
- (2011, Summer) EMU Summer Grant to develop a new course: Conservation Photography.
- (2007, Summer) EMU Summer Grant to develop a new cross cultural trip: Land, Fisheries, and Cultural Change: Interviews with the People of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- (2006, Summer) Awarded a $3000 stipend to study at the 2006 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at Ferrum College: Regional Study and the Liberal Arts: An Appalachian Exemplar.
- (2005-2006) Awarded EMU mini-grant and release time for The Creatures Among Us, photography book and Web site.
- North American Nature Photographers Association (Conservation Committee)
- Advisory Board, Girls Who Click
- Board member and vice-president of Virginia Wilderness Committee
Professional Conferences Attended
- (2021) North American Nature Photography Association Virtual Summit (selected online sessions)
- (2019, February) North American Nature Photography Association Summit, Las Vegas.
- (2017, August) NEPARC (Northeast Partners Amphibian and Reptile Conservation). Was a presenter.
- (2017 November) WildSPEAK, Washington, D.C.
- (2017, March) North American Nature Photography Association Summit, Jacksonville. Was a presenter.
- (2016 November) WildSPEAK, Washington, D.C.
- (2016, June) Look3 Festival of the Photo, Charlottesville
- (2016) Trip to Cocobolo, Panama – CREA reserve (Conservation through Research and Action). Meeting with board members and practicing conservation photo techniques in the field.
- (2015, November) Nature’s Best Photo Awards Celebration, Washington, D.C. (invited)
- (2014, November) WildSPEAK, Washington, D.C.
- (2015, February) North American Nature Photographers Summit, San Diego. Was a presenter.
- (2014, November) Nature’s Best Photo Awards Celebration, Washington, D.C. (invited)
- (2014, March) Society of Photographic Education National Conference, Baltimore. Was a portfolio reviewer.
- (2013, July/August) Sustainable Amphibian Conservation of the Americas Symposium, Siquirres, Costa Rica
- (2012, June) The Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville.
- (2011, June) The Festival of the Photograph , main sessions and gallery workshop, Charlottesville.
- (2011, March) Society of Photographic Educators National Conference , Atlanta. Was a portfolio reviewer.
- (2010, June) LookBetween Emerging Photographer slideshow and dinner , Crozet.
- (2010, March) Society of Photographic Educators National Conference, Philadelphia. Was a portfolio reviewer.
- (2009, June) The Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville.
- (2009, March) Headwaters Gathering: Southern Appalachia at the Crossroads, Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC.
- (2008, June) The Festival of the Photograph, main sessions and one week photographic workshop with Eugene Richards, Charlottesville.
- (2007, June) The Festival of the Photograph, main sessions and master class, Charlottesville.
- (2007, March) Society of Photographic Educators National Conference, Miami.
- (2006, March) Society of Photographic Educators National Conference, Chicago.
New Courses Taught
- (2022 Fall) Honors Colloquium: Wildlife - The More Than Human World
- (2021 Spring) Senior Thesis
- (2019, Fall) Photo 1
- (2018, Spring) Senior Studio Practicum (co-taught)
- (2018, Fall) Foundations of Design: Digital
- (2013, Fall) Conservation Photography
- (2010, Spring) Print and Portfolio Workshop
- (2009, Fall) Reconfigured Digital Imaging to become Digital Photography with more emphasis on working with digital SLRs.
- (2008, Summer) Cross Cultural Social Science:Newfoundland, Labrador and Nunatsiavut.
- (2008, Spring) Advanced Black and White Photography.
- (2007, Spring) Issues and Values: Relating to the Land.
- (2006, Spring) Redeveloped Web Design Production so that students could work on a real-life team web project that involved developing an interactive application for Intercultural Communicative Competence in conjunction with Dan Wessner’s Human Rights course.
- (2022) New Faculty Mentoring Committee (Belonging Together)
- (2022) Honors Committee
- (2022) Director of Admission Search Committee
- (2021-2022) Intellectual Life Committee
- (2019-2021) Faculty Senate
- (2014-2021) Oregon Extension Oversight Committee
- (2015-19) Diversity Task Force/CODI
- (2013-2018) Department Chair for Visual and Communication Arts & Theater
- (2017-2018) Undergraduate Executive Council
- (2016) Guest speaker for EMU Kairos place (topic: preparing a gallery exhibition)
- (2015-2018) Undergraduate Enrollment Strategies
- (2015-2016) Chair of VaCA Search Committee
- (2015) Chair of CRC
- (2015) Guest speaker on Conservation Photography for Conservation Biology class
- (2013-2015) Faculty Senate – Academic Committee Chair
- (2014) Chair of VaCA Search Committee
- (Fall 2010-spring 2012, 2013-present) Department Chair for Visual and Communication Arts
- (2011-2012, 2013-2014) Creation Care Council
- (2013) Chair of CRC
- (2013) Faculty mentor
- (2013) Guest speaker on Conservation Photography for Conservation Biology class
- (2009-2012) Information Systems Planning Committee
- (2011-2012) Creation Care Council
- (2009-2011, 2007, Spring) Powerpointers. Presentation on effective use of multimedia in student presentations for EMU Speech Communication class.
- (2008-2010) Gallery Director for EMU
- (2009-2011) Information Systems Planning Committee
- (2007-2011) Elected for two 2-year terms on Faculty Senate. Served on Academic Committee.
- (2006-2009) Undergraduate Enrollment Strategies Working Group
- (2007-2008) Fall Faculty/Staff Conference Planning Committee
- (2007, Fall) EMU delegate to presidential inauguration at Houghton College
- (2006-2007) Curriculum Revision Study Group
- (2005-2006) Proposed and helped develop a Digital Media Major at EMU.