An interview with Jaime Johnson. This past week I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to some of the artists currently on exhibition at the Gallery Fine Art Center show Panchromatic. The show is up through July 15th and can be viewed Thursday & Friday between 2-6pm and Saturday 11-2pm. You can also schedule an appointment to view the Gallery by contacting Kendra Thompson at 318-741-9192.
When did you decide to become a photographer?
"At 16 I left home to study at the Mississippi School for Math and Science, a two year residential boarding school. At this time, I also got my first camera from my dad, thanks to fluke on the Internet. The website had a deal: “save 300 dollars,” essentially the price of the camera. The order went through though the website took down the offer quickly. Making images was a constant for me from then onward. MSMS introduced me to the arts when I took taking painting there and I knew my future would involve working with images in some way. Studying at Ole Miss for my undergraduate degree. I thought it was a practical route to study Graphic Design. I was in a photo imaging elective during the time the photography professor Brooke White was starting up the Imaging Arts program, which includes photography and video and my switch into that program was instant! By the time I made it to the end of my BFA degree and knew it was only beginning, which led me to the MFA Photography program at Louisiana Tech. I am in my last year in the program now and find myself realizing yet again, this is only the beginning!"
What do you find most difficult about it?
"Time is a crucial component in our day to day lives. When I am in the middle of a project or starting something new, I constantly feel like I should be making the next thing. Sometimes it’s hard to stop thinking about these things when I am attending an art opening or event. I’m often thinking about what I will do the moment I leave or what I could be doing. On another level, there is the struggle with photography itself often overlooked as an art form. Sometimes I say I study art and someone asks me, “Oh, what do you paint?” Usually this happens when I return home or if I am in an area that is not well-versed in the arts, so it’s a good conversation to have, but can be exasperating sometimes!"
If you could meet any artist alive or dead who would it be and why?
"I would love to meet Robert Adams, an eloquent storyteller through both images and the written word. You can pick up on who a person is by the work they are making. He has extensive bodies of work and I admire his writing, which is just as beautiful. I am also intrigued by the late Vivan Maier. Secretive and allusive, she was constantly making photographs but never showed anyone, and that is intriguing. I feel she would have been interesting to sit down with person-to-person, even if I not knowing she was a photographer."