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Elizabeth Johnson (London, UK)

From fashion magazine shoots to gritty newspaper jobs, Elizabeth Johnson has found her own brand of dark and moody photography

Elizabeth Johnson might enjoy shooting fashion, but it will never be in that glossy and commercial kind of way we're all so used to. There's an distinct eerie quality to Johnson's work, with serious, realistic and sometimes moody feelings to it. That can be explained by her earlier affiliation with newspaper photography for the likes of The Independent, Sunday Times and the BBC, all through a degree in Editorial Photography from Brighton University. Having also had work experience at more fashion focused publications, such as Vice, Amelia and Disappear Here, Johnson, 24, have found herself a unique style of photography, one that she is now busy pursuing in a freelance career. But there are other projects on the horizon as well: "Yes, I'm also working on a farm assisting with projects in animal welfare standards and will be returning to University to qualify as a veterinary surgeon. Which I am aware is not quite a normal career combination!"


...your work all about?
Memories, Isolation, loneliness, beauty. I'm obsessed by the countryside, the beauty of it, the fragility of people, how we pass so quickly, but the landscapes remain.

...the one photograph you wish you'd created?
Eva by Sarah Moon. French photographer, her work is extraordinary - eerie, beautiful and fragile. Actually I'm not sure if I wish I created it, or owned it......

...the world coming to?
Like nothing we've seen before... It's all a bit worrying.

...the most important thing for an artist to remember?

Not everyone is going to like what you create. In fact most people will be really critical and rude; Learn to filter through the "advice" you get given.

...the most inspiring thing you've ever seen?
Gosh, there have been a lot. Seeing people close to you overcome serious illness is pretty inspiring. Visually, Spring, watching Winter disappear every year. Nothing could ever beat that.

...the cleverest thing you've ever done?
Realise that it's good to be humble.

...the stupidest thing you've ever done?
Be an arrogant precocious art student!

...what's next?

I'm off to India to photograph wildlife for a Biologist for a few weeks, then planning on writing and photographing a book of some sort, something creepy and terrifying. Shooting some more fashion. Plus I am planning on going to University to study veterinary medicine, so I shall be photographing all my work experience involved with that.

...the point?
To have fun, learn, learn, learn a bit more. That's pretty worthwhile?

Describe what beauty means to you?
Beauty is so important, the duality of it, you need beauty to accept the unpleasant. Without it, what's the point of having eyes?

Do all you projects have that eerie feeling to them?
They do, I'm drawn to wide spaces, or claustrophobic rooms, with lost looking figures that prompt your imagination. I make pictures that look like illustrations for a foreboding story!

What do you prefer - Black & white or colour?
Both equally, but I think black and white can give the subject of the photo more impact... you're less distracted visually.

What equipment/film do you use? What do you like about what you use?
I use an Olympus OM20 and like using really fast film, 3200 asa ilford usually. I love the grain and unpredictability of it.

Who/what are your influences - art/film/literature/other photographers?
Francesca Woodman, Sarah Moon, Jean Cocteau,

Are you exhibiting anywhere soon?
I'm trying to arrange something in Oxford. I have a lot of new work that I would love to exhibit.

Do you have a website or blog?
Yes, here's my blog!