Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson

Office Phone: (540) 432-4364


Main Campus, Harrisonburg

Office Location: UC 275A


Visual & Communication Arts Dept

Associate Professor

Visual & Communication Arts Dept

“I want to encourage students to stretch their faith, intellect, and creativity in a challenging interdisciplinary environment that promotes the development of a poetic sensibility. As an artist who professes the Christian faith, I’m passionate about the idea that art can help name the problem of alienation and can help bring forth authentic community. As a teacher, I’m interested in mentoring students as they add their voices to this community of namers.”

In addition to teaching, Steve has a professional background as a Director of Digital Media, webmaster, and photographer.

Photographic credits include Orion, BBC Focus Magazine, NSTA books, National Geographic Traveler, Blue Ridge Country, Sufi Journal, Wings,,, and The London Guardian. Steve’s photographic imaged 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

  • (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).
  • (2010, January 25) A public display of affection: WMRA blog (6 photographs appear on the web site).
    Photographed NPR’s Carl Kassell for WMRA in Harrisonburg.
  • (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).

Press photography of recording artist David Stith appeared in the following national and international magazines, newspapers and web sites:

  • (2009, November 1) Interview with DM Stith: Sojourners, God’s Politics Blog
  • (2009, May 22) Live Review – DM Stith: Esquire UK online
  • (2009, April 15) Dm Stith: Morning Glory Cloud:
  • (2009, April) Mojo: 109.
  • (2009, April) The Month’s Best Debuts: Uncut Magazine 87.
  • (2009, March 22) The Music Mix Blog: DM Stith on his first SXSW, working with Sufjan Stevens, and more: Entertainment Weekly/
  • (2009, March 8) Breaking Act: David Stith: The Sunday Times/Times Online
  • (2009, March 3) Artist of the Week: DM Stith: Paste
  • (2009, March 1) How a job at Starbucks rescued my career: The Observer | Review. The Guardian (London) Music 9.
  • (2008, December 30) Lydverket: The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation
  • (2008, November 22) DM Stith Curtain Speech: Les Inrocks (France’s largest culture and music magazine).

Scholarly Presentations and Abstracts

  • (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).

Exhibits, Performances and Productions

  • (2015, Fall) Of Frogs and Toads. My photographs of amphibian life appeared as large scale prints to accompany the fall theater production of Frog and Toad at EMU. This same series will appear at the Staunton Library in June of 2016.
  • (2014, January) Rock. Lichen. Forest. Exhibition at EMU Margaret Gehman Gallery (photography by Steven David Johnson. Text and illustrations by Anna Maria Johnson).
  • (2012, July/August) The Dynamics of Water . Solo exhibition at the James Madison University Edith J. Carrier Arboretum Frances Plecker Education Center, Harrisonburg, VA (14 photographs, invited).
  • (2011, September) Down to the River. Group exhibition at EMU (15 photographs).
  • (2011, August) The Dynamics of Water. Solo exhibition at the Valley Council for the Arts Smith House Gallery, Harrisonburg, VA (26 photographs, invited).
  • (2011, February) Leaf. Flower. Spiral. The Flow of Energy in the Natural World . Group exhibit at the Blandy Experimental Farm, State Arboretum of Virginia (7 photographs).
  • (2011, Winter) Iceberg, Coast of Nunatsiavut . Part of a group exhibit sponsored by the Climate Action Alliance of the Valley at Clementine Café, Harrisonburg, VA (photograph).
  • (2010, August) VACA group faculty show. Blue Ridge Community College, Weyers Cave, VA.
  • (2010, Spring) The Ambient Group purchased five images to be printed and framed for the new Rockingham Memorial Hospital in Harrisonburg, VA.
  • (2010), The Washington Post featured Faith Unboxed , a site that I designed for WMRA’s Martha Woodroof
  • (2009, June) Traces of place. Two person exhibit (photography), Harrisonburg League of Therapists, VA.
  • (2009, May) The King of Cootes Store (photograph). Clementine Battle of the Arts (juried show), Harrisonburg, VA.
  • (2009, Fall) Eliza and the Iceberg, Magdalena and the Gourd (two photographs). Houghton College Alumni Exhibition, Houghton, NY.
  • (2009, June) Mountain Laurel, Trout Pond, WV (two photographs). VMRC juried art exhibit, Harriaonburg, VA.
  • (2008, October) Virginia Journal. Group exhibit (seven photographs), Eastern Mennonite University Hartzler Gallery.
  • (2008, March) Traces of place. Two person exhibit (photography) and artist’s talk, Davison Gallery, Roberts Wesleyan College, North Chili, NY.
  • (2007, October 13-November 9) Traces of place. Group faculty exhibit (photography), Sadie Hartzler Library Gallery, Eastern Mennonite University.
  • (2007, Spring) Oregon extension video. Produced and directed a promotional video for the Oregon Extension, a semester program in the Cascade Mountains of southern Oregon. Revised with new footage in 2009 and 2013.
  • (2006, March 13-April 7) "_The creatures among us._ Solo exhibit (photography), Sadie Hartzler Library Gallery, Eastern Mennonite University.

Church, Community and Professional Service

  • (2015-2016) Board member for Virginia Wilderness Committee.
  • (2015-2016) Window to the Woods. Regular photographic e-newsletter for Wild Virginia.
  • (2015) Conservation Photography 101. Presentation for the Rotary Club in Rockingham County.
  • (2015) Guest speaker on Conservation Photography for Paulette Moore’s media course at the Corcoran
  • (2014) Rock. Lichen. Forest. Multimedia presentation at Community Mennonite Church
  • (2014) Photographer for Community Mennonite Church photo directory
  • (2013, Spring) Mentor for Student Directed Learning project in Nature Photography at Pinehurst School, Lincoln, Oregon
  • (2012, Fall) Taught Nature Photography workshop for Greensprings Mountain Festival fundraiser in Lincoln, Oregon
  • (2010-2012) Photographed pastoral staff portraits at Community Mennonite Church.
  • (2009-2011) Venture Club sponsor at Community Mennonite Church
  • (2008, 2005, Fall) Careers in digital media and photography. Presentation on Digital Media Careers at Eastern Mennonite High School (invited).
  • (2008) Designed new church logo for CMC.
  • (2007-2008): Advisory board for Rock & Sling: A Journal of Literature, Art, and Faith.
  • (2006-2008) Shenandoah Anabaptist Science Society Steering Committee member. Designed newsletters and maintained Web site.
  • (2007, Spring) The Children of CMC. Photography/Multimedia presentation at Community Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, VA.
  • (2006, Fall) Documentary photography for Mennofolk festival, Harrisonburg, VA.
  • (2006, Summer) Estonoa wetlands. Photography book for the Estonoa Wetlands Project in southwestern Virginia.
  • (2006, Summer) Photographic documentation of Kurdish children at a community celebration to assist the Standing With Our Neighbors project in Harrisonburg, VA.

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • (2015, Spring) EMU Quality Service Award
  • (2015, Summer) EMU Summer Grant to photographically document Hellbender research in central Appalachia
  • (2011, Summer) EMU Summer Grant to develop a new course: Conservation Photography.
  • (2007, Summer) EMU Summer Grant to develop a new cross cultural trip: Land, Fisheries, and Cultural Change: Interviews with the People of Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • (2006, Summer) Awarded a $3000 stipend to study at the 2006 National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute at Ferrum College: Regional Study and the Liberal Arts: An Appalachian Exemplar.
  • (2005-2006) Awarded EMU mini-grant and release time for The Creatures Among Us, photography book and Web site.

Professional Memberships

  • North American Nature Photographers Association
  • Virginia Herpetological Society

Professional Conferences Attended

  • (2016) Trip to Cocobolo, Panama – CREA reserve (Conservation through Research and Action). Meeting with board members and practicing conservation photo techniques in the field.
  • (2015, November) Nature’s Best Photo Awards Celebration, Washington, D.C. (invited)
  • (2014, November) WildSPEAK, Washington, D.C.
  • (2015, February) North American Nature Photographers Summit, San Diego. Was a presenter.
  • (2014, November) Nature’s Best Photo Awards Celebration, Washington, D.C. (invited)
  • (2014, March) Society of Photographic Education National Conference, Baltimore. Was a portfolio reviewer.
  • (2013, July/August) Sustainable Amphibian Conservation of the Americas Symposium, Siquirres, Costa Rica
  • (2012, June) The Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville.
  • (2011, June) The Festival of the Photograph , main sessions and gallery workshop, Charlottesville.
  • (2011, March) Society of Photographic Educators National Conference , Atlanta. Was a portfolio reviewer.
  • (2010, June) LookBetween Emerging Photographer slideshow and dinner , Crozet.
  • (2010, March) Society of Photographic Educators National Conference, Philadelphia. Was a portfolio reviewer.
  • (2009, June) The Festival of the Photograph, Charlottesville.
  • (2009, March) Headwaters Gathering: Southern Appalachia at the Crossroads, Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, NC.
  • (2008, June) The Festival of the Photograph, main sessions and one week photographic workshop with Eugene Richards, Charlottesville.
  • (2007, June) The Festival of the Photograph, main sessions and master class, Charlottesville.
  • (2007, March) Society of Photographic Educators National Conference, Miami.
  • (2006, March) Society of Photographic Educators National Conference, Chicago.

New Courses Taught

  • (2013, Fall) Conservation Photography
  • (2010, Spring) Print and Portfolio Workshop
  • (2009, Fall) Reconfigured Digital Imaging to become Digital Photography with more emphasis on working with digital SLRs.
  • (2008, Summer) Cross Cultural Social Science:Newfoundland, Labrador and Nunatsiavut.
  • (2008, Spring) Advanced Black and White Photography.
  • (2007, Spring) Issues and Values: Relating to the Land.
  • (2006, Spring) Redeveloped Web Design Production so that students could work on a real-life team web project that involved developing an interactive application for Intercultural Communicative Competence in conjunction with Dan Wessner’s Human Rights course.

EMU Service

  • (2013-present) Department Chair for Visual and Communication Arts & Theater
  • Guest speaker for EMU Kairos place (topic: preparing a gallery exhibition)
  • 2015-2016) Undergraduate Enrollment Strategies
  • (2015-2016) Chair of VaCA Search Committee
  • (2015-16) Diversity Task Force
  • (2015) Chair of CRC
  • (2015) Guest speaker on Conservation Photography for Conservation Biology class
  • (2013-2015) Faculty Senate – Academic Committee Chair
  • (2014) Chair of VaCA Search Committee
  • (Fall 2010-spring 2012, 2013-present) Department Chair for Visual and Communication Arts
  • (2011-2012, 2013-2014) Creation Care Council
  • (2013) Chair of CRC
  • (2013) Faculty mentor
  • (2013) Guest speaker on Conservation Photography for Conservation Biology class
  • (2009-2012) Information Systems Planning Committee
  • (2011-2012) Creation Care Council
  • (2009-2011, 2007, Spring) Powerpointers. Presentation on effective use of multimedia in student presentations for EMU Speech Communication class.
  • (2008-2010) Gallery Director for EMU
  • (2009-2011) Information Systems Planning Committee
  • (2007-2011) Elected for two 2-year terms on Faculty Senate. Served on Academic Committee.
  • (2006-2009) Undergraduate Enrollment Strategies Working Group
  • (2007-2008) Fall Faculty/Staff Conference Planning Committee
  • (2007, Fall) EMU delegate to presidential inauguration at Houghton College
  • (2006-2007) Curriculum Revision Study Group
  • (2005-2006) Proposed and helped develop a Digital Media Major at EMU.