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Meet Trailblazer Ann Johansson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ann Johansson.

Ann, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I came to Los Angeles from Sweden, I had no idea that one could make a living as a photographer. Once here, after meeting people in creative fields, I realized that this is possible. I had the opportunity to assist photographer John Isaac while touring with Michael Jackson. Spending time with John, who was on leave from his staff job as a photographer at the United Nations, opened my eyes to photojournalism. Once the MJ tour was over, I worked hard to get my start freelancing at the Los Angeles Times. From there, I went on to photograph for major news outlets here in the States and overseas.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It is always a hustle being a freelance photographer. You have to not only be really good in your field you also have to be smart about your business and marketing. Photography as a business has gotten harder over the years with more competition and less compensation going around. The hardest time was during the Great Recession when many of my staff friends lost their jobs and we all were hit financially. My advice to young women starting out is to work really hard, photograph, photograph, play, photograph some more, make connections, find a mentor, and keep your focus on where you want to get to.

We’d love to hear more about Ann Johansson Photography.
For many years, I worked as a photojournalist, taking pictures that show active people in their environment. I am proud of the fact that I have been able to work with global leading newspapers, magazines, businesses, and corporations. I have been allowed to see and document amazing people, events and places around the world. Photography to me is a way to share information. To show the viewer what someone looks like, what a place looks like, how people live and work. The work I did for Klimahaus, where I traveled to photograph in seven countries around the world, show how people live in different climates. Klimahaus is a museum-like space in Germany that is all about climates and climate change. Today, I am using my photography for a unique project visually connecting climate change causes, effects, impacts and solutions globally. I am doing this through exhibitions, public art installations, talks and more. This work is now getting attention through awards and at festivals in the US and Europe. This is rewarding as we are facing a climate crisis and my ultimate goal is to make climate change relatable on a personal level.

Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
I try not to walk into art book stores as I usually end up walking out with some book on photography because I am inspired by the work. While my roots are in photojournalism I have photography books that span the photography fields. For my work, I read books about different aspects of climate change and I am constantly using the internet to find information on how things work – everything from the coal coking process (what!) to sea ice and krill in Antarctica. There is so much to learn. Today, unfortunately, I do little reading for pleasure. One app that I unfortunately use a lot for a project that I am working on is the Air Matters app that show air quality in real time. Living in Los Angeles this is both useful and at times a bit scary considering the health implications for all of us.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photograph of me done by © Crystal Hover, All other photographs © Ann Johansson

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