Search within:

Lynn Johnson Collection

Ask Archives and Special Collections

The Lynn Johnson Collection contains the work of Pittsburgh-based photojournalist and Ohio University Knight Fellow Lynn Johnson (Visual Communications, ’04).  

With nearly two million images, the collection represents Johnson’s professional work spanning from the early 1970s to the 2000s. During this time, Johnson worked on assignments for the Pittsburgh Press, National Geographic, LIFE, Sports Illustrated, and numerous other publications via Black Star and Aurora photo agencies. Also included in the collection are her freelance and independent projects and her on-set/off-set photography with Fred Rogers of the children’s television show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The collection consists of negatives, slides, contact sheets, prints, and supporting documentation, such as articles, datebooks, notebooks, and correspondence. 


Fred Rogers holds Neighborhood Trolley and looks to side on Pittsburgh trolley steps
Fred Rogers holds Neighborhood Trolley and looks to side on Pittsburgh trolley steps


The collection supports visual literacy education, the study of documentary photography & photojournalism, and engagement with social and political issues across the world.

In-Person Access

The collection is open for research but is unprocessed. Contact the Mahn Center for more information about the collection. 

The Lynn Johnson Collection is stored at the Hwa-Wei Lee Library Annex (205 Columbus Rd., Athens, OH 45701). Schedule an appointment at least one week in advance to ensure that materials are available for viewing. Researchers may be asked to visit the Hwa-Wei Lee Library Annex Reading Room (205 Columbus Rd, Athens, OH 45701) instead of the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections (5th floor of Alden Library).  

Guo Yuxian carries produce, balanced in baskets on a pole across her shoulders
Guo Yuxian carries produce, balanced in baskets on a pole across her shoulders, from her farm to the market, Yunnan province, China, circa 1995

Digital Access


Negative Portrait of Nur Ali
Nur Ali, portrait, circa 1988-1989 (negative film reproduction)
Portrait of Nur Ali
Nur Ali, portrait, circa 1988-1989

Browse digitized items from the collection 


The Lynn Johnson digital collection features a selection of material which supports teaching and learning at Ohio University. The digital collection will continue to grow on an ongoing basis. 

Faculty are encouraged to reach out to the Mahn Center to discuss how the digital collection can support their classes. 



Photographs from the Lynn Johnson Collection can be viewed in the following online exhibits by Ohio University Libraries:

The Lynn Johnson Collection 

Photojournalist Lynn Johnson donated her collection of film photography, dating from the 1970s to the early 2000s, to the OHIO Libraries in 2011. Explore some of her work & learn how the Libraries preserves, digitizes, & teaches with the collection.


Golden Quill Awards slide for Lynn Johnson with the Pittsburg Press
16th annual Golden Quill Awards slide for Lynn Johnson with the Pittsburg Press, 1979


The Documentary Photography Archive at Ohio University supports all colleges and schools that teach visual and information literacy, but the hundreds of thousands of images that have been donated must be arranged, cataloged, and preserved so that they are discoverable - a timely and labor-intensive process. Donations to the Lynn Johnson Collection Support Fund make a substantial difference towards the organization, preservation, and use of the Lynn Johnson Collection for years to come.

About Lynn Johnson

Lynn Johnson is a photojournalist and 2004 alumna & Knight Fellow of Ohio University’s School of Visual Communication
Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Johnson was the first woman staff photographer for The Pittsburgh Press where she worked for seven years before starting her freelance career in the early 1980s. Since then, her photography has been featured in numerous magazines and newspapers such as LIFE, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Sports Illustrated and the New York Times. In addition, Johnson’s work has been published in several books including Power to Heal (1990), Women in the Material World (1996), and Nature’s Medicines: Plants that Heal (2000). Her work has extended to assignments with foundations for Alcoa, Heinz, Jewish Healthcare, and the Pittsburgh Foundation, and she has photographed well-known individuals including Aimee Mullins, Tiger Woods, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers Neighborhood), and United States Supreme Court justices. While at Ohio University, she completed her master’s thesis, “Hate Kills,” which explored the impacts of hate crimes in the United States.

Johnson is recognized for her compassionate images which often document difficult and sensitive subjects and has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Coverage of the Disadvantaged (1985), multiple World Press Photo Awards (1985, 1988, and 1992) the National Geographic Photographers Photographer Award (2013), and she was a finalist for the Pulitzer for Explanatory Reporting for her work in National Geographic Magazine’s Gender Revolution issue (2017). 

Johnson gifted her archival collection of nearly two million images to Ohio University Libraries in 2011. In 2017, Johnson was awarded the Medal of Merit by the Ohio University Alumni Association.