Lynn Johnson

Lynn Johnson

  • Visiting Professional

    Visual Communications

What she teaches ...

Lynn Johnson guides graduate and undergraduate students in the development and collection of content for advanced photo and video/multimedia projects, emphasizing creativity, work ethic, personal intention and community-building skills in the service of becoming a better visual communicator.


Photojournalist Lynn Johnson is known for her intense and sensitive work, photographing the global human condition for the past 35 years.

As a regular contributor to publications such as National Geographic and Sports Illustrated, Johnson has documented celebrities and tragedies alike, bringing a subtle perspective to tough issues. With her Leicas, she has climbed the radio antenna atop Chicago's Hancock Tower and dangled from helicopters in Antarctica. Yet her favorite assignments have been emotionally demanding stories about ordinary people: a family struggling with AIDS (Life); the life of Paralympic athlete and activist Aimee Mullins (Sports Illustrated); native Hawaiians’ mission to protect traditional ways (National Geographic); the threat of zoonotic diseases that move around the world (National Geographic) and the ongoing danger of landmines (National Geographic). The photographs, based on fairness and compassion, are an attempt to honor and share the stories of others.

After 30 years of practicing photography, she sees her personal work moving from that of observer to advocate. Johnson uses her role as photographer and teacher to promote dialogue and encourage a change in attitudes and perceptions of intolerance and prejudice.

Johnson’s master’s thesis as a Knight Fellow at Ohio University, "Hate Kills," is a compelling book and traveling exhibit space about the impact of hate crimes on American society.

She is a frequent educator at National Geographic’s Photo Camp, training the next generation of photojournalists in developing countries.

Johnson was a staff photographer at The Pittsburgh Press for seven years before beginning her freelance career. She is currently a member of the National Geographic Image Collection.

View her work online at

Learn more about the multimedia photography and design program.