Cranbrook Academy of Art. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

During my time at Cranbrook and the Michigan years I met fine art photographer Emmet Gowin, film director/cinematographer Karl Strauss, film director Daniel Petrie, fine art photographer Ralph Gibson and major Art theorist Rudolph Arnheim. I was influenced by metal smith Richard Thomas, one of the finest craftsmen I’ve ever met and founder of the very first graduate fine art Metal Smithing department in the United States. Incredible work, his students would produce entire suits of armor!

Cranbrook has a kind of aura about it and its influence on American Art and design. There are numerous books on “Cranbrook Design” and on the  founders Eero and Eliel Saarinen. A few of the Artists-in-Residence since Cranbrook’s Academy of Art was sanctioned in 1932 to the present have been: Architect Daniel Libeskind (architect of the new wing of the Denver Art Museum), Painters Zoltan Sepeshy and George Ortman, and Sculptor Carl Milles, Ray and Charles Eames, and Duane Hanson, to name only a few have been a part of Cranbrook’s rich community of artists.

A very beautiful place, once described as “one of the most enchanted architectural settings in America.”

BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS DEGREE in Photographic Illustration.

Rochester Institute of Technology. Rochester, New York.
Summa Cum Laude with highest honors, top of the B.F.A. class.

While at RIT, I studied with (and was influenced in varying degrees by) fine art photographer Betty Hahn, fine art color photographer John Pfahl, color theorist and B&W fine art photographer Ira Current, photographic illustration teacher extraordinaire Charles Arnold, former White House photographer Michael Gleason and influential photographic scientist and good friend Leslie Stroebel. I learned my method for the Zone System from Texan Larry Butler. During my RIT/New York years I met: iconic photojournalist W. Eugene Smith, fine art photographer Aaron Siskind, superb illustration photographer Joel Baldwin, early motion picture special effects expert Albert Whitlock and the amazing and extremely influential fine art photographer Minor White.

Included in my time at RIT was an independent study at The International Museum of Photography where I was able to closely study the original prints/portfolios of a very large group of superb photographers: Edward, Brett & Cole Weston, Ansel Adams, Paul Strand, Alfred Steiglitz, Minor White, Elliot Porter, Harry Callahan, etc.

The New York City visit for a week with all of Charles Arnold’s former students, who were among the NYC’s best commercial photographers, was a revelation. Before the third year Illustration trip there, I was his only student planning on a life there, after the trip, I probably was the only one who decided against NYC instead it was teaching for me and a concentration on my own creative work, probably in Colorado.

Colorado State University Pueblo. Pueblo, Colorado.

NOTE: Colorado State University Pueblo, University of Southern Colorado and Southern Colorado State College are all the same institution during different periods.

It was Southern Colorado State College when I attended there, while I have taught at it in all of its incarnations. I was a work study/scholarship student, originally for a short time in the Mass Communications Department and then for a number of years in the Art Department, shooting Art slides and even helping to move equipment from the older Orman campus (which is where PCC is located now) to the new Belmont campus.

I attended SCSC for 3 years just shy of a degree in Art when I decided to transfer as a Junior to RIT in New York. Rod Townley, Chair of the Humanities Division met me while I was still in high school as a Rotary Student of the Month and was a major supporter of me and my work throughout my college career. Townley introduced me to Mahlon T. White of the Colorado Thatcher/White banking family and the Thatcher Foundation. Mahlon liked my work and his foundation became a major benefactor of mine, providing the major share of funding of me through both RIT for my undergraduate degree and Cranbrook Academy of Art for my graduate degree.

While a student at SCSC, I studied/worked with: fabulous mystical Southwestern artist Orlin Helgoe, influential photographer/filmmaker Lew Tilley, wonderful designer/cloisonné artist JoAnne Brasil, Meso-american Art historian/artist Robert Hench, collage artist Edward Sajbel, painter Robert Wands, and Art historians Bebe Baird and Millie Montaverde. Other fine teachers who greatly influenced me were: Anthropologist Dr. Bill Buckles, Philosopher Dr. Don Driscoll and Historian James Sanderson.

Many of these fine teachers later became my colleagues and most are still my life long friends.


October 2011 American Society of Media Photographers’ Fine Art Digital Workflow with John Paul Caponigro and R. Mac Holbert of Nash editions. Denver.

Apple Computer workshops at 45th National Society for Photographic Education conference. Denver

Photoshop with Ben Willmore. Denver

Adobe InDesign with Taz Tally. Denver

Adobe Photoshop with Bert Monroy. Denver

Nikon School: Digital photography & workflow. Denver

Adobe Photoshop with John Paul Caponigro. CSUP

Robert McKee's Film Scriptwriting Story Structure class Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. North Hollywood, CA.

Friends of Photography members workshop. Carmel, CA with Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, Paul Caponigro and others.


President Tamarack Productions Inc.At one point I owned: complete Arriflex 35 mm & 16 mm camera systems, Nagra sound package, Moviola editing equipment and an extensive lighting/grip setup. Over the years I have raised and implemented large budgets in the 5 to 6 figure range both through private and public means, trained my own production crews for all my films and managed staffs usually of 30 to 50 people, sometimes numbering 100. Still involved in the distribution of my films at the AFM (American Film Market), Cannes (Cannes, France film market) and MIFED (Milan, Italy film market) and with Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Studio TV Cameraman/Floor director. KOAA-TV  Pueblo's NBC affiliate. Cameraman operating an Ikegami HK-343 camera for news, weather, sports, special events such as elections, disasters, commercials, etc.

Custom color/black & white printer produced custom work for all the film studios, TV networks and other clients including NASA, utilizing black & white, Type C color negative printing, and occasional Ilfochrome Classic, up to 16x20. Colorhouse Photo Laboratories, Burbank, California; headquartered in London. Employee of the Month.

 Cinematographer, Videographer and Production Assistant. With various Colorado and national production companies on: commercials, Dodge Trucks; industrials, Ohio Oil Exploration; documentaries, How State Government Works; TV movies, MGM's The Women of San Quentin and mini-series, Warner Brothers' The Sacketts, among others. The Sacketts was a great old Louis L'Amour Western with a wonderful cast: Ben Johnson, Jack Elam, Sam Elliot, and Tom Selleck which was filmed largely in Canon City, Colorado. I was an extra in a number of shots with Sam Elliot. On The Women of San Quentin I was a PA (production assistant) whose jobs (among other things was to roust Debbie Allen and Yaphet Kotto from their trailers and one day to arrange chicken lunches for 600!  Did a lot of work like that to see how the big boys did film.

Newspaper Photographer & Lab Technician. Pueblo Star Journal & Chieftain

Documentary Still Photographer. Colorado Highway Department. Did black & white and large format color documentation of Eisenhower Tunnel construction. This was the during the construction of the first, northern most bore through the Rockies. Cold and wet even in June.

Photographer and Experimental Filmmaker. Began photography and film work in 1962. With this early work I created portfolios which earned me college scholarships and grants at every institution I attended.


Pueblo Arts Council  Excellence in the Arts Award

National Endowment for the Humanities, Washington, D.C.

Colorado Humanities Program, Denver

Ford Foundation (through Cranbrook), Detroit

Professional Photographers of America (through RIT), Oak Park, Ill.

Invitee to OXFORD ROUNDTABLE conference on Technology & the Arts at St. Anne's College in the University of Oxford, Oxford, England Summer 2008. Invited to present my paper, though I was unable to attend because of a lack of institutional funding.


Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan;

The Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico;

Denver Art Museum;

University of South Carolina - The Digital Eye Sumter, South Carolina;

Texas Tech University International Cultural Center Lubbock, Texas;

Washington Gallery of Photography Bethesda, Maryland;

Rocky Mountain Regional Juried Photography Exhibition Manitou Springs;

Louisville Art Association, Louisville, CO;

Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Exhibitions Pueblo;

Blue Spruce Gallery Florence, CO;

Photography Centennial Celebration - 100 Years at RIT Rochester, New York;

Otero Junior College La Junta, CO;

Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center;

Beulah Valley Arts Council Summer Show  Beulah, CO;

One Man Show - Sangre de Cristo Art Center Pueblo;

Chester County Art Association West Chester, Pennsylvania;

Fine Arts League of Southeastern Colorado La Junta, CO;

Boulder Art Center Boulder, CO;

Gilpin County Arts Association Central City, CO;

One Man Show - Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, New York;

Scarab Club Detroit, Michigan;

Colorado Celebration of the Arts Denver;

Western Maryland College Westminister, Maryland;

Continental Divide Arts Association Fort Collins, CO.

Over the years I have frequently been in faculty shows at all the institutions where I have taught.


John Deaux Gallery, Pueblo


Encyclopedia of Photography 3rd edition, 1993. Contributing editor. Focal Press, London.

View Camera Technique 5th, 1986 through 7th, 1999 editions. Eight photograph portfolio. Focal Press, London.

Who’s Who:

   2017 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award (after being listed in Who’s Who for 20 or more consecutive years with more than 30 years in field, having been published in two articles highlighting expertise and having received award outside Marquis Who’s Who).  

    in America 55th, 2001 through 70th, 2016 editions;

    in the World 17th, 2000 through 26th, 2009 editions;

    in the West 27th edition, 2000;

    of Emerging Leaders in America 3rd edition, 1991;

    in Entertainment 1st, 1988 through 3rd, 1998 editions.

Biography. Marquis, Macmillan Directory, New Providence, NJ.

Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers 7th, 2002 through 11th, 2007 editions. Biography. Educational Communications Inc., Lake Forrest, IL;

Photographic Materials & Processes 1st, 1986; (Basic) 2nd, 2000 editions; Five photographs. Focal Press, London (also in Italian edition in as L' Uso Della Macchina Professional Il Castello, Milano 1993);

Visual Concepts for Photographers 1st edition, 1980. Five Photographs. Hastings House, New York and Focal Press, London (also in Chinese edition 1998).


Curse of the Blue Lights or simply Blue Lights overseas (95 min.) Director, Writer, Producer, Cinematographer and Editor. Blue Lights Partnership. Feature length film. Invited feature: Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Festival, Rome 1990. DVD release 2014.


Zebulon Pike and the Blue Mountain (60 min.) Director, Writer, Producer, Cinematographer and Editor. Tamarack Productions Inc. Winner: 1985 CINE Golden Eagle Award, Washington, D.C. (for films chosen to represent the United States in overseas film competitions) and the 1986 Certificate of Commendation from the American Association for State and Local History (the national society of professional historians). Narrated by Burgess Meredith. Music by members of the Denver Symphony. DVD release 2006. Shown on Rocky Mountain PBS.

Pike film website:


Damon Runyon’s Pueblo (40 min.) Director and Cinematographer. National Endowment for the Humanities. Distribution: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Chicago Winner: 1983 CINE Golden Eagle Award, Washington, D.C. The filmmakers are indebted to the hundreds of Puebloans who devoted time and energy to this project. Over 200 actors appear on screen, all in vintage costumes in 79 locations, many of which Runyon frequented. DVD release 2022. Shown on Rocky Mountain PBS. 

Runyon film website:


“Buddy Johnson A Colorado Original” (now in its 2nd editition) is the biography of my father Buddy Johnson and his career in music, on early television and radio through numerous shows like Western Star Theatre, The Barn Dance and The Colorado Hayride. "Buddy Johnson A Colorado Original" covers Buddy's entire life in the context of his family, history and Colorado, a state that he loved. 178 pages and 378 images. Copyright 2021 by John H. Johnson.  

Also, a website dedicated to my father Buddy remembered for his band of 40 years "The Colorado Rangers," and his radio and TV shows from the 1940’s through 1960s, most memorably The Buddy Johnson Adventurer’s Club Show for the hundredth anniversary of his birth in 1919.

Buddy Johnson website:

I have created a series of 4 eBooks on traditional film photography, including darkroom procedures and camera information.

The Film Photography Courses are 4 eBooks available through the Apple Bookstore. Based on the photography courses I taught over decades at a number of universities and colleges. These eBooks include simple, straight forward information on the basics of traditional photography, camera controls, darkroom techniques and includes:

1 - Basic Photography - camera controls, exposure, pinhole photography, film/print processing, presentation methods, 50 significant photographers. 21 pages

2 - Basic Lighting - artificial lighting, electronic flash, medium format cameras, photographic emulsions/chemicals, Infrared photography. A light box you can build. 22 pages

3 - The View Camera - its use, archival film/paper processing for maximum longevity, high contrast photography. An archival print washer you can build. 23 pages

Most significant are my step-by-step instructions for running the complex Zone System tests.

4 - How to Test for the Zone System - This 4th photography course is NOT a basic course, but rather is the complete, rarely known, intense methodology known as the Zone System method of photography presented in an easy to understand and follow form. 25 pages


“Buddy Johnson A Colorado Original” presentation to the Beulah Historical Society, Sep. 21, 2023.

“Buddy Johnson A Colorado Original” presentation Pueblo Heritage Center, Aug. 16, 2023.

Pueblo Rawlings Library, Ryals Special Events Room, Pueblo: "Buddy Johnson A Colorado Original" presentation, July 29, 2021.

Copyright © 2024    John Henry Johnson    All rights reserved.