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About the Photographer
These photographs by Eirik Johnson are from his ongoing series Borderlands, begun in late 2001. The project encompasses a wide geographical area ranging from British Columbia through Nevada, though the five pictures here are all from the outer edges of the San Francisco Bay area. While these pictures sometimes depict urban sprawl or littered fields and generally evidence a human presence in the environment, they are not concerned so much with the degradation of the landscape as they are with the strange and chance things that happen in places that are largely left alone.
Before Borderlands, Johnson was trying to develop a project photographing his own interventions in the landscape. However, the more Johnson was out photographing in the landscape, the more he realized that the things he could find there were more interesting than the things he could create. The new style of working seen in Borderlands took more time, but in investigating marginalized landscapes and chance relationships Johnson was able to draw on two important experiences he had had at the fringes of settled territory: his own childhood in Seattle exploring the city's urban edges and his years as a young man photographing the Qoyllur Rit'i pilgrimage in Peru, an annual event with pre-Columbian roots that translates to "Snow Star." He shoots with a 4×5 view camera, a format he started using for Borderlands because its ability to bring large amounts of information into focus allowed viewers greater access to the marginalized places he was presenting.
Eirik Johnson was born in Seattle, Washington in 1974. He holds a BFA in Photography and a BA in History from the University of Washington (1997), as well as an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (2003). He spent 1999 through 2000 in Peru on a William J. Fulbright Grant. He has exhibited at ASA Gallery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, California; Stanford University, Palo Alto, California; Oakland Art Gallery, Oakland, California; Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco; SF Camerawork, San Francisco; Museum of Contemporary Art, Cusco, Peru; and Ojo Ajeno Galería, Centro de la Forografía, Lima, Peru. His photographs are in the collections of The National Fulbright Organization; National Institute of Culture, Peru; Centro de la Forografía, Lima, Peru; and Artist and Special Book Collection, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.