Framing the Street: Photography of David Johnson

David_Johnson_Poster_WEBThe Mariposa County Arts Council is pleased to bring “Framing the Street,” a special exhibition of documentary photography by David Johnson, to the Treetop Gallery running from November 8, 2014 through April 3, 2015.

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A Dream Begun So Long Ago: The Story of David Johnson, Ansel Adams First African American Student, by Jacqueline Annette Sue

David Johnson, a native of Jacksonville, Florida was the first African American student of Ansel Adams at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute) in 1946. Is addition to Adams, Johnson studied under such photographic greats as Minor White, Imogen Cunningham, Ruth Bernhard, and Edward Weston during the heralded golden age of photography on the West Coast. While at the California School of Fine Arts, Mr. Johnson was advised to document the people and places he knew well. As a result, he became an important chronicaler of black life in San Francisco during the middle part of the 20th century, turning his lens on the city’s jazz scene, the Civil Rights Movement, and streetwork focused specifically on San Francisco’s Fillmore District. Nat King Cole, Langston Hughes, Eartha Kitt, W.E.B. Dubois and Thurgood Marshall were among the many luminaries Johnson photographed.

Now in his 80s, Mr. Johnson considers himself a griot, or storyteller, who in West African culture is charged with communicating a tribe’s history. “By documenting past eras, I am giving people a glimpse of what life was like, maybe for some reawakening painful and proud memories. My work teaches through visual images. They reflect what I have experienced and continue to observe and become legacy for present and future generations.”