Individuality and charisma shine in each of her photographs. Her archive is not a single, monolithic portrait, but an intricate collection of stories. “My archive is…each person that I meet, which is much more complex than just being part of the diaspora,” she said.
Johnson Artur’s shoots are often brief encounters on the street, though she also captures people she sees again and again through the rituals of daily life. Some of her subjects have become her friends. She loves to be in a joyful space with music, where she can “float around,” as she puts it, and get close to people naturally. She often totes small film cameras, but has been known to use large-format, as well—a process that takes more time, stillness, and engagement.
All of Johnson Artur’s photos are presented untitled and undated to give each image equal weight, and to allow unexpected visual connections to form between them. “I’ve tried to eliminate things around the photographs that take away from…just looking at that moment that the picture represents,” she explained. That idea, which she says makes the archive more democratic, carries through from her shows to her untitled clothbound book from 2016—which was designed simply with only a single image per page—and to her website.