We Walk The Earth | Reads | Episode 36 - Daniel N Johnson

A spotlight on Daniel N Johnson

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Guest Spotlight

A spotlight on Daniel N Johnson

20 Sep, 2023
We Walk The Earth | Reads | Episode 36 - Daniel N Johnson
In a heartfelt conversation between We Walk The Earth host Sergio and artist-photographer Daniel N. Johnson, we delve into how photography serves as his medium to explore the depths of our inner world.
For Daniel, a pivotal moment arrived when a poet friend said to him, "You're not taking photos of other people; you're capturing photographs of yourself through others." Daniel describes this revelation as a transformative "mic drop" moment that has forever reshaped his perspective.

Daniel's artistic journey began in the realm of graphic design, where he meticulously honed his craft, seeking pixel-perfect perfection. His transition into photography was driven by a yearning for something different—something dynamic, messy, and unpredictable.

Throughout his life, he had often felt trapped within his own thoughts, but through photography had found a means to externalise his emotions and musings—offering him a profound way to reflect on and engage with the world around him.

The pandemic, with its restrictions on close interactions, led Daniel to pivot his lens inward and explore self-portraiture. Initially considering these self-portraits as mere "sketches," he soon realised the power of portraying his emotions without relying on external subjects. This journey led him to a deep connection with his own body, offering insights into his emotions that he had never before accessed.

Self-portraiture became a means for Daniel to cultivate a profound relationship with his body, connect with nature, and explore his spirituality. His work often featured him in natural settings, sometimes even in a state of undress—an aspect he intends to exhibit in the near future.

Before showcasing his self-portraiture work, Daniel felt it was crucial to share the prelude, which involved photographs of others and their bodies. The exhibition, titled "Monumentos," ran from July to August 2023 in Mexico City. Translated as "monuments," the exhibition photographs serve as reminders of his personal history, much like the way large statues commemorate historical events. Each photo encapsulates a lesson learned or an internal experience.

Daniel's creative exploration doesn't stop at photography, however. During a sudden illness while en route to a friend's yoga retreat, he found himself isolated in a cabin. Instead of succumbing to idleness, he felt an irresistible urge to create. He initially attempted to take photographs, but when that didn't yield the desired results, he turned to slow-motion video. With no specific concept in mind, he explored his relationship with his body and his surroundings.

This period of solitude coincided with Daniel's initiation into therapy—a process that allowed him to reconnect with his body and address avoidance patterns related to romance and curiosity. He described feeling a resurgence of his "mojo" and a newfound connection to his body.

Limited by equipment and memory card capacity, he was unable to create content indefinitely throughout his isolation, so he returned to self-portraiture, this time in nature. By photographing himself in a river, entwining with the exposed roots of a tree, he symbolically mirrored his own journey. This process enabled him to root himself in his body, fostering a deeper connection with his inner power, presence, and external roots in Mexico.

After post-production experiments and a collaborative effort for a fitting musical accompaniment, Daniel named the resulting piece "Windshield Wipers." He sees it as a cleansing of internal distortions, addressing the contrast between how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us.

To delve deeper into Daniel's inner journey through photography and videography, tune in to episode 36 of We Walk The Earth, titled "Explorative and Fluid Photography with Daniel N. Johnson.

Useful links:
View Daniel’s work
Instagram: @danieljohnsonis

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