Fine Art Photography Daily

PhotoNOLA: Nancy A. Johnson

This week I am sharing more work seen at PhotoNOLA

Photographer Nancy A.Johnson presented work that had a natural beauty– images that reflect  stillness, memory, and place shot with a Rolleiflex camera. Her sensitivity to the land and the use of the Rolleiflex viewfinder creates a way to pause and consider the subject at hand capturing the verisimilitude lost in peripheral vision on site. She has an affinity for subjects close to her Minnesota roots and botany of all kinds.

Nancy is a Minneapolis-based photographer whose interest in photography began when her dad gave her a Brownie camera at age 10. Much of her photography education has been through workshops in Maine, Santa Fe, France and Minneapolis Her academic background includes a bachelor’s degree in German and summa cum laude in art history, and master’s degree in museum management from the University of Minnesota. After a nearly 30-years career in investor relations and communications, she is directing more attention to photography.

 Close to Home

After living in Minnesota for a lifetime, drives around the state inevitably raise stories about family and events. The following images are from locales within a day’s drive of Minneapolis.

Grand Marais, a town of 1,300 people and a few stoplights, is situated on the North Shore of Lake Superior 40 miles from the Canadian border. A hub for summer visitors, a must-do ritual is a walk on the breakwater separating the harbor from wily Lake Superior. The intimate pools in rock outcroppings are populated with bugs, lichens and tenacious wild flowers — a contrast to the vast lake to the right.

The tranquility of this waterway belies its location, sandwiched between tennis courts and busy residential streets in South Minneapolis. In late August, the trees filter the late afternoon sun, and the light plays on the water.


My husband’s great grandfather bought the land and house for the family farm from an Indian in 1879. His mother grew up in the house near Dassel, in Central Minnesota and his parents were married in the living room. The oak trees echo the enduring legacy of the farm in the family history. They were much smaller when my husband played there as a boy.


Ely, Minnesota, is on the edge of the one-million acre Boundary Water Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota. Two mainstays on Burntside Lake are Listening Point and Burntside Lodge – both on the National Register of Historic Places.

At Listening Point, the wilderness retreat of conservationist and writer Sigurd Olson, the cabin windows are a membrane between the interior, and the flora and fauna awaiting discovery. 


Burntside Lodge has been welcoming guests since 1913. Many of the cabins were built in the 1920s and 1930s, and painted a brilliant burnt orange. Iconic Cabin 26 is often photographed in color. In black & white, the scene evokes the memory of a summer evening. 

Nature of New York 
I have long been fascinated with botany, from photosynthesis, to the infinite variety in blooms and leaves, to the structure and mass of trees. On trips to New York, the cacophony of the streets is both exhilarating and exhausting. A sojourn to a legacy park is an effective antidote. My aim is to depict the drama of the scene: the density of the only remaining old growth forest in New York; Central Park trees that have survived since they were a dot on Fredrick Olmsted’s plan; the relief of warm spring sunlight on emerging buds.

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