David Johnson

Artist Statement

David Johnson - Photographer Photographer David Johnson, age 93, was born and reared in Jacksonville Florida. Mr. Johnson is an African American photography cultural icon who has recorded for history though his camera lens, the San Francisco California scenes since 1945. 

Mr. Johnson has been involved in the San Francisco community, since he was a photography student at the California School of Fine Arts (now SFAI) and lived at Ansel Adams home in Sea Cliff. He has a BA from UCSF and a Masters from Barry University, Miami Florida. 

He worked for the Bay Area Urban League, in 1970 he appointed by Mayor Alioto to the Citizens Committee for the Haight-Ashbury District. He worked at the UC Medical Center and organized the “Black Caucus” to help integrate higher level opportunities for minorities, for which he received commendation from Chancellor Philip Lee.  In 1977, He received a commendation from Benjamin Tom for working to improve employment opportunities for Chinese Americans. 

Mayor George Moscone appointed him to the1977 San Francisco Planning Council. Mr. Johnson, is an active Civil Rights personality, who photographed 56 years ago the March on Washington and his photographs are in the Library of Congress, Wash. DC; the riots in Watts and documented the life of African-Americans in San Francisco KQED used his photographs in their Peabody Award documentaries: The Fillmore, Spark,and Common Ground. 

He was President of the SF African American Art & Cultural Society. There are 15 major books containing his work, as well as several films. His photographs now hang in the Priscilla and Mark Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center. The UC Berkeley Bancroft Library acquired Mr. Johnson’s archival collection and Jack Von Ewu, Head Curator has stated that the “David Johnson Collection” is the most important African American one, the Bancroft has received in the last 18 years.” His photography presence is felt throughout the United States. 

David Johnson has received many distinguished awards, commendations, and proclamations from: San Francisco Mayors, London Breed, Ed Lee, Gavin Newsome, George Moscone, and Joseph Alioto and Jacksonville Florida Mayor Lenny Curry as well U.S. Congressman Al Lawson, Senator Audrey Gibson, Minority Leader, Florida and House of Representatives Tracie Davis. 

He has had many exhibitions though out the United States.