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10 Questions with RayKo Instructor
Johnna Arnold

Posted by Shawn Tamaribuchi on 10/24/2012 to interviews

Fake Rock, I-80, Rodeo, CA

1) What was the first camera you owned and what do you shoot with now?
 A Pentax K1000 with a 50mm lens - it was a nice little camera, but I traded it for a Nikon F2 long ago.
 Now, I use two cameras, diametrically opposed, but working together nicely. I've got a Canon 5d mark2, which I use for my commissioned work; its a great camera. For my latest series of photos though, I'm shooting with a nice old beat up Speed- Graphic 4x5. The 5d works SO well as a light meter; which I figure is putting it in its place historically.

2) What's in your main camera: Film or Memory Card?
 I just heard Abelardo Morell speak; and he likened the transfer from film to digital as similar to the transfer from wet-plate to dry-plate negatives, meaning that its a continuation of the story of photography, and generally, an improvement. The reason I'm still shooting film is because I love to make big final prints, and I can't afford a 40mp digital backs - so 4x5 seems to be the best way to get the resolution I want. I love that digital gives you the information about your photo right away. I usually have a pretty clear idea in my head of what I want, and working digitally has really helped me to get there sooner.

Writing, Under Hwy. 24, Oakland, CA

3) If you had access to any photographic equipment you wanted for a day, what would you choose?
 Ah: a wind-tunnel, strobes, digital back, harness, and some helpers.

4) What classes are you teaching?
I've been teaching digital one & two for a while now. I'm adding a course to help students work on continuing or creating a body of photos - which I'm pretty excited about (Personal Projects in Photography). I've tutored students on almost anything digital (Raw processing, Lightroom, Photoshop) but what I am most interested in is helping students to think visually, take chances, and create unique images that feel authentic to their way of seeing.

By the Home Depot, I-880, Oakland, CA

5) What are the top reasons someone should take your class?
 I try to keep things fun; I see the technical aspects of photography as important, but really I just want to swallow it down so that I can use the tools creatively. What surprises me is how I continually enjoy teaching Beginning Digital Photography. Going over the basics, explaining that light travels very fast and in very straight lines... It remains exciting.

6) What was the last art opening you went to?
 I went to Art Murmur and was amazed by my friend Misa Inaoka's show at Johansson Projects. I went to the Headlands 30th birthday celebration - which included some really fun interactive work, including a smelling booth and an art obstacle course, which was pretty amazing. Oh, and the Oakland Museum recently unveiled this groovy little customized truck, the Oakland Rover.

Passenger Train, I-680, Benicia, CA

7) What part of RayKo's facilities do you use the most?

 Well, I scan my film on the Imacon scanner, and I often teach in the lighting studio. Sometimes we get to use the lighting studio as a lighting studio, which is really fun. Oh, and Im really excited about this new classroom that is underway.

8) Bought any good photo books lately?
 Sadly my budget doesn't allow me to buy as many as I'd like. I was just reviewing my Emmett Gowin book - I bought the first edition in college and it remains humble but impressive. I bought the catalogue for the last Pier 24 show "Here", and I was recently given a Michael Light book as an award from the Bedford Gallery. In the more how-to vein, I just got "Publish your Photography Book" (D. Himes & M.V. Swanson) which is a great resource for those of us interested in getting a book project going.

Arnold Point, I-80, Oakland, CA

9) Recent work that has caught your eye?
 Hmmmm. I recently got to know a few photographers through the Photo Alliance Portfolio reviews and that was really fun - Rebecca Horne and Joshusa Band especially. I'm pretty fascinated by the work of Vija Clemins and Rodney Graham, and I'm reading a book about Buckminster Fuller that is very idealistic and really fun. Caleb Charland's work is amazing; I love photography that considers and plays with the way photography shows the world.

10) What are you currently working on and where can we see it?
 I am now getting work together for two exciting events. The local one is a photography show at the San Francisco Art Commission Gallery entitled "Nothing to See Here" - It opens on October 26th, and I'm really excited to be a part of it. The second is the Houston Art Fair, where Traywick Contemporary will be showing some of my work. Finally, I'm getting ready for a solo show at Traywick next spring. I've got some work to do for that one, so wish me luck!
 I recently updated my web site to include my new work: www.johnnaarnold.com . And I have a blog that I enjoy writing in when I can: www.johnnaarnold.blogspot.com. Social media-wise, Im most commonly on Facebook, where you can friend me at johnna.arnold. Im have a twitter account too - @johnnack but Im still working on my twittering; I figure its good to step outside every once in a while.


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