Stella Johnson is a photographer and educator known for her passionate and honest documentary projects. She received a Core Fulbright Scholar Grant to photograph in Mexico in 2003-2004, and Fulbright Specialist grants to teach in Mexico in 2006 and in Colombia in 2018. The University of Maine Press published her monograph, Al Sol: Photographs from Mexico, Cameroon and Nicaragua in 2008. Wild Greek Press published her second monograph, ZOI, in 2018. Johnson’s photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally.
Teaching has been central to Johnson’s work and has evolved organically from her innate disposition to develop long term, respectful relationships with individuals and communities. Her philosophy of teaching over the last 25 years has been in synch with her philosophy of photographing her fellow human beings. She has been invested in people’s lives, and has found that lifelong friendships have resulted from her insistence on introducing herself and interacting with the people she photographs. She infuses technical and visual aspects of the photographic arts with cultural concerns, encouraging students to make contact with and ask permission of people they photograph, as she always does herself.
A dedicated educator, Johnson held teaching positions at Boston University and Lesley University College of Art and Design. She has led domestic workshops in New York, Maine, Florida and California as well as in Mexico, Cuba, Colombia, Greece, and Israel.
She was a finalist for the Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellowship, twice, in 2013 and 2018, Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50, twice, and a nominee for the Boston Foundation’s Brother Thomas Fellowship. Johnson’s work has received numerous honors including a New England Foundation for the Arts Cultural Collaborative Artist-in-Residence Grant.
Johnson holds a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute and an MS in Journalism from Boston University. Her work is held in public collections including The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA, The Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee, WI, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, and The Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach FLA among others.