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Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

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Lynn Johnson has a conversation with Lauren Pond, graduate student of photojournalism, at Alden Library.

Photographer: Kate Munsch/Ohio University Libraries

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(From left) Stan Alost, Lynn Johnson and Tracy Marx exchange thoughts after participating in a panel discussion.

Photographer: Kate Munsch/Ohio University Libraries

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The overflowing audience applauds the speakers at a panel discussion about the exhibit "Pain, Death & Healing: Images from the Lynn Johnson Collection" in fall semester 2012.

Photographer: Kate Munsch/Ohio University Libraries

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Lynn Johnson Collection expands the Ohio University Libraries’ Special Collections

Renowned photojournalist donates work to OHIO


For nearly four decades, Lynn Johnson has been a globe-trotting photojournalist, compiling a collection of images that has the power to evoke emotion in her audiences. Through her photographs, Johnson captures what every person shares in life in order to remind us of our common humanity.

Johnson began her career in photojournalism in the 1970s, and has since captured images from all over the world. Her work has been published in national magazines such as National Geographic, LIFE and Sports Illustrated, among others.

It was not until 2011—approximately 40 years after she began her career in photojournalism, and seven years after graduating from the School of Visual Communication as a Knight Fellow emerita (MA ’04)—that Johnson donated her collection of work to the Ohio University Libraries.

The relationship between Johnson and the Ohio University Libraries functions in two ways: Johnson’s collection provides research tools to the Ohio University community, and the Libraries provides a home to her collection by making it available for the learning, teaching and research activities of students and faculty.

In November 2012, Johnson came together with Tracy Marx, associate professor at the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, and Stan Alost, associate professor at the School of Visual Communication, to hold a panel discussion about her work and its potential research applications. Bringing disciplines together in this format represents just one of many ways that Johnson’s collection can be applied in a scholarly setting.

“By developing a relationship with Alden Library and keeping a rapport with Stan [Alost] and the VisCom school, I can really see how much people care, and how much educators care,” Johnson said. “There is a passion for excellence here at this Library, and I really am honored to be a part of that, and I’m honored that my archives could be a part of it.”

In donating her collection to the Libraries, Johnson helps reinforce the connection between Alden Library’s primary resources and students in all classrooms. One of the Ohio University Libraries’ goals through The Promise Lives Campaign is developing a photo archive.

“The Lynn Johnson Collection is really the foundation of building a robust photojournalism archive that reinforces the connection between Alden Library’s resources and faculty and students from many disciplines,” said Doug Partusch, director of development for Ohio University Libraries.

Arranging, cataloging and preserving the hundreds of thousands of images in the collection is a timely and labor-intensive process, yet a necessary one in order for the images to be discoverable by researchers.

“Johnson’s photos will serve as a living collection for visual research and classroom editing use if they are able to be preserved,” said Terry Eiler, director and professor of the School of Visual Communication.

With the support of its staff and patrons, the Ohio University Libraries will continue to grow its collections in order to promote and to connect learners to information for discovery, intellectual growth and advancement of knowledge.

By collaborating with established photographers and providing a protective home for their work, the Libraries can continue to uphold its vision of being a dynamic gateway for discovery, creation and exchange of information.

The Promise Lives
Ohio University's current capital campaign, The Promise Lives Campaign, has raised more than $413 million toward its goal of $450 million by June 2015 in support of students, faculty, programs, facilities and community partnerships. 

Click here to learn more about the campaign.