JAIME JOHNSON

Jaime Johnson currently teaches as an Assistant Professor in Art in Photography and Foundations at the University of Tampa. She received her BFA from the University of Mississippi in Imaging Arts and her MFA in Photography from Louisiana Tech University. Her work has been shown nationally and abroad in venues such as the Center for Fine Art Photography, The SOHO Photo Gallery in New York, The New Orleans Photo Alliance, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, and during Canada's Exposure Photography Festival. She has been published in Don't Take Pictures magazine, Seites magazine, The Oxford American: Eyes on the South, and in Teaching Photography: Tools for the Imaging Educator 2nd editionHer photographs also serve as cover art for literary works including The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded (Persea Books, NY), and Venus in Furs (Roads Publishing, Dublin).


Untamed

2014 – present

Poet Mary Oliver stated, “I think when we lose the connection with the natural world, we tend to forget that we're animals, that we need the Earth. And that can be devastating.” My series Untamed expresses humankind's capacity to decay as a marker of our identity. The work is photographed in the swamps and woods of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, natural places where one confronts life and death, growth and decay. Portraying the archetype of a feral woman, I collect the bones, branches, and flora and tread with the animals, both living and dead. My portrayal of the wild woman character counteracts stereotypical depictions of the feminine as fragile and weak, revealing a strong female character navigating the treacherous landscape around her.

The photographs are printed using the cyanotype process, which shifts focus from potentially colorful landscapes and figures to patterns, textures, and the relationships of forms within the images. Tea-staining the prints dulls the blue and adds warmth, mimicking earth tones. Printing on thin Japanese paper adds translucence and gives the prints a feeling of fragility. My photography work offers the viewer a shared experience and connection with nature, during times in which society is becoming removed from the natural world.

 


Q&A: UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA

Why the University of Tampa? 

The Department of Art+ Design at the University of Tampa is an exciting place to be. The campus is situated near downtown Tampa, so you can go from being in an urban setting to white sand beaches, to a location that looks like it hasn’t been changed since the Jurassic time period. The geography of Florida is diverse, offering a wide variety of photographic opportunities for students. Tampa is centrally located, so Florida’s three national parks are within traveling distance and there are numerous state parks in the area. The university is also within walking distance to the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, located within the art department, brings exhibitions with an international and national scope.

It’s particularly an exciting time for the Photography concentration at the University of Tampa. We have new courses rotating in, so our curriculum encompasses a wide range of courses exploring older processes to newer technologies, including traditional black and white darkroom, alternative processes, digital photography, and studio lighting. The department offers BA and BFA degrees to prepare students for careers and/or graduate school after completing their degree, but our students are getting graduate-level experiences with the Art & Design visiting artist program bringing in world-renowned artists such as Alyssa Monks and Julie Heffernan, to name a few. These artists do 2-3 day workshops and participate in critiques of student work. There is so much on the horizon; it is a great time to come to University of Tampa. Take a peak at our social media pages and you can glimpse many of these exciting happenings.

What courses do you teach? 

I currently teach one foundations class a semester (2D Design), a beginning darkroom course, digital photography, and a couple independent studies. Next semester I will be teaching a brand new course, experimental photography, which encompasses alternative processes.

How does your program bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary photographic practices? 

We have a big presence and emphasis on black and white darkroom in our facilities currently, so by creating new courses we are able to provide students with a broad range of experiences including studio lighting, advanced digital photography, and hybrid processes including experimental photography.

Describe the process of output for photographs.

Students get the experience making traditional BNW chemical prints in the darkroom, and can access large format digital printing on an Epson P9000 in a shared digital lab within the Communications department.

Describe the critique format. 

Critiques happen in class, with the possibility of visiting artists conducting portfolio reviews and studio visits. In-progress critiques are built in prior to project deadlines so students get feedback and re-shoot ideas in order to make the most successful photograph.

Where can we keep up with your photo department online?

What other photo programs and artists should we be keeping an eye on?

Brooke White and Frank Hamrick


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