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Steven Johnson

DEPARTMENT: Visual & Communication Arts Dept

POSITION: Professor and Professor

LOCATION: Main Campus, Harrisonburg | UC 275A

PHONE: (540) 432-4364


Steven David Johnson is Professor of Visual and Communication Arts at EMU in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. His photography of the natural world has appeared in Orion, BBC Focus Magazine, Ranger Rick, National Science Teachers Association Press books, a National Geographic Kids book, and numerous conservation publications and journals. He is a board member of Virginia Wilderness Committee and an Affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Steve has been teaching a semester long course in Conservation Photography since 2013. Students work on a major real-world project in partnership with regional conservation organizations.

When not in the office, you’ll probably find Steve half-immersed in a vernal pool photographing Appalachian salamanders.

Photographic credits include Orion, BBC Focus Magazine, NSTA books, National Geographic Traveler, Ranger Rick, and Virginia Wildlife. Steve’s photographic images and portfolios have been featured in the journals: Ruminate, Numéro Cinq, Flycatcher, Newfound, Pan, and Rock and Sling.


  • (2001) M.F.A., Savannah College of Art and Design
  • (1995) B.A., Houghton College



Selected Photography Publications

  • (2018) Blue Crayfish: Ranger Rick: June/July 2018: 7 (1 photograph and featured video on web site)
  • (2018) Salamanders: Virginia Wildlife, January/February 2018: 30, 33, back cover (3 photographs for article on salamander declines)
  • 2017) Appalachian Vernal Pools article: Smoky Mountain Journal of Photography, 3, n4: cover, 16-30 (28 photos plus text in pdf publication)
  • (2017) Next Time You See a Cloud photos: 8, 15, 17, 20, 26 (five photographs for NSTA books)
  • (2016) Hellbender Salamander photograph: BBC Focus Magazine, March 2016
  • (2016) Pacific Chorus Frog: Frog Log, 24, n1:20 (my photograph of a Chorus Frog as well an interview with me about the Conservation Photo class appear in an article by Dave Huth titled The Salamander’s Smile: Photography’s Powerful Role in Conservation).
  • (2015) Eye on the Environment photos (featured photographer for Richmond Times-Dispatch Flair)
  • (2015) Cow Knob Salamander (photographs on front page of Staunton News Leader)
  • (2015) Cow Knob Salamander (photograph on front page of Richmond Times-Dispatch)
  • (2015) Next Time You See a Spiderweb photos (five photographs for NSTA books)
  • (2014) Magdalena and the Fireflies: National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs (photograph)
  • (2014) Placobdella parasitica: photograph for video
  • (2014) Next Time You See the Moon (five photographs for NSTA books)
  • (2013, August) Firefly images: Wisonsin Natural Resources Magazine , 4-6 (cover photo and three additional images)
  • (2013, July/August) Things the Dog Ate: Orion Magazine (photo accompanies article)
  • (2013) In Praise of Lichens (six photographs for peer-reviewed Pan Journal online)
  • (2013) Next Time You See a Pillbug (thirteen photographs/cover image for NSTA books)
  • (2013) Next Time You See a Firefly (eight photographs for NSTA books)
  • (2013) Firefly in Hand: Leave No Child Inside (cover photograph for Orion books)
  • (2013) Salamanders of Fridley’s Gap: Place-Based Education (cover photograph for Orion books)
  • (2013, March/April) Rope Swing (Accompanies “The Politics of Play”): Orion Magazine , 32, n2 (photograph).
  • (2013, Spring) White-throated sparrow: The Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont : 424 (photo)
  • (2012, Fall) Fireflies: Wings: Essays on Invertebrate Conservation , 5: Fall 2012 (photograph)
  • (2012, July/August) Children in Nature (Accompanies “Look, don’t Touch”): Orion Magazine , 31, n4 (photograph).
  • (2012, Summer) Grackles in Flight: Sufi: Journal of Mystical Philosophy and Practice (photograph)
  • (2012, May/June) Chicken portraits: Blue Ridge Country, 25, n5/6: 3, 3, 62-65 (eight photographs including double-page spread article lead).
  • (2012, May/June) Mink (Neovison vison): The Wildlife Volunteer: A Publication of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, May/June 2012: 2 (two photographs)
  • (2012, March/April) Ecopyschology images: Orion Magazine, 31, n2: 17-18, 21-22, 24 (feature photographs: five digital photo-illustrations).
  • (2012, April) Blue Ridge Parkway Foodie Tour: Blue Ridge Country, 25, n3/4: 16-20 (six photographs including double-page spread article lead).
  • (2011, August) Tralfamadore Farm: Blue Ridge Country, 24, n7/8: 3, 52-53 (five photographs).
  • (2011, May/June), Water Abstractions: Orion Magazine, 30, n3: table of contents, 73-74 (six photographs).
  • (2011, Winter) The Sisters of Cootes Store: Precipitate Journal, 2: n4 (eight photograph series)
  • (2011, Winter) Riffing on Whirlpools: Numéro Cinq (seven photograph series) Selected for The Best of Numéro Cinq, Volume I.
  • (2010, Fall) Maggie and the Gourd, Sisters and the Bubble: Shots, 109: 8, 11 (two full page photographs).
  • (2010, July/August), Equus and Horses in Motion: Orion Magazine, table of contents double page spread and full page image (two photographs).
    Photographs appear as a full page and a double page spread in Orion Magazine (winner of the 2010 Utne Press Award for General Excellence).
  • (2009, May/June) Spring, George Washington National Forest and Leaves in Ice: Orion Magazine, 28, n3:39-40 (two photographs).
  • (2008, Summer) Traces of Place. Ruminate: Faith in Literature and Art 8:cover, inside cover, 63-64. Featured artist (cover photo, three additional photos, artist’s statement and biography).
  • (2007, Oct) Eastern Tiger Swallowtail: National Geographic Traveler magazine, 24, n7:68 (photograph).
  • (2006, Spring) Cover photo: Rock & Sling: A Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith 3, n1.
  • (2005, Spring) The creatures among us. Rock & Sling: A Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith 2, n1:cover, 10, 17, 32, 49, 129, 130-134. Featured artist (cover photo, five additional photos, extended artist’s statement and biography).

Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

  • (2017) Conservation Photography. Presentation and workshop at NEPARC (Northeast Partners Amphibian and Reptile Conservation).
  • (2017) Just Below the Surface. Presentation at the North American Nature Photographers Summit in Jacksonville.
  • (2015) Conservation Photography 101. Presentation at the North American Nature Photographers Summit in San Diego.
  • (2013) Below the Surface. Multimedia presentation on underwater photography for Shenandoah Photographic Society.
  • (2010) Textbook reviewer for Focal Press. Reviewed the full manuscript of Color Photography (5th edition) by Robert Hirsch.
  • (2006, June) Panel respondent for visiting scholar, David Whisnant, at National Endowment for the Humanities Appalachian Studies institute, Ferrum College, Ferrum, VA (invited).