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"Photo" Dave Johnson
(Iowa City, IA)

    Photo Dave found his way to the Kerrville Folk Festival in 2004 and starting photographing in 2008. His series of photographs entitled "It Can Be This Way Always" began as a labor of love and an opportunity to feed his desire to expand and make a different type of photograph. In the summer of 2020, amid civil unrest, a global pandemic and a myriad of other challenges, Dave received news that UT Press would like to publish the "It Can Be This Way Always" photo series as a book. The book is scheduled for release in March 2021.

Dave describes the series, "It Can Be This Way Always focuses on a vernacular of time, the 21st-century event with 20th-century aesthetics, observing the American traveling troubadour and the unique camaraderie and society that develop when such individuals come together. It Can Be This Way Always continues my conceptual interests within a very different environment. Many of the images of individuals and their spaces depict a subversion of the conformity and complications of our modern-day existence and a simultaneous entering into another world that possesses its own unspoken codes of conduct and hierarchy. This environment lacks certain modern physical infrastructure elements and population permanence, allowing an examination of the individual and communal identity in a perpetually fluctuating space. While the landscape and night images provide the atmosphere of this durational event, the portraits offer a typology of performers and volunteer individuals who tirelessly work so the festival ensues every year."


  Now over a decade in length, this series tells the story of this festival: a collection of images that are a stamp in time of a much larger and longer lasting gathering. Photographs from this series were exhibited as part of the Louisville Photo Biennial in 2015, Valparaiso University, and the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis.

    In addition to photographing KFF, Dave helped form the camp better known as "Thunder Mountain", which finally received an appropriate name after one wild night in 2012. He enjoys swimming in the nearby creeks, and when not in his hammock at Thunder Mountain or out photographing, he is probably at the Leopard Lounge or Merrville. 

     David Johnson is an artist, educator, and curator based in Iowa City, IA.  Johnson's photographs have been exhibited internationally, including at the Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis, Mildred Lane Kemper Museum, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, National Building Museum in Washington D.C. and Rathaus in Stuttgart, Germany. David has curated exhibitions for the Center of Creative Arts, Paul Artspace and the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum all in St Louis. Currently, Johnson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography at The University of Iowa.

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  Dave has not only donated a myriad of exclusive and original KFF Photo Prints to the 2020 Gift Gallery Fundraiser, but he has also donated a 8-piece KFF Gallery Print & Photo Book Package to the KFFF Virtual Silent Auction.

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The Main Stage at Kennedy Theater, 2012.
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