Introducing SomoS Artist-in-Residence Todd Reece Johnson

photographer / photography lecturer

01.12.2017   - 01.12.2018

SomoS is pleased to welcome Australian artist and university lecturer Todd Reece Johnson who will join us for a three month project-based Artist Residency, beginning December 2017.

Johnson employs inventive analogue techniques to investigate the malleability of the photographic image. In Berlin, he will produce and present a photographic project and exhibition, “Fossils.”

The photographs in this series will be taken around Berlin’s urban landscape; then later buried there. This ongoing process is an attempt to collaborate with place, by allowing elements of the landscape to more overtly steer the photographic inscription process. What results will be a highly unpredictable visual arrangement that fits somewhere between intention and chance.

On a technical level, I plan to photograph various objects and spaces located within Berlin’s urban landscape. Once the film has been developed, I return to site to bury the film underground, which allows elements of soil, minerals and humidity of the land to inscribe the photosensitive emulsion through direct physical contact. This intimate relationship with the landscape allows the film to transform, mutate and decay over varying durations of time. Through collaboration with the landscape, Fossils will investigate the inherent disorder, chaos, turmoil and beauty of nature; qualities reflected formally in the shapes, colors and texture of the work itself.

In part, this project stemmed from my personal dissatisfaction with conventional photographic technique, partly with respect to the current age of digital ‘saturation’ of images, post-processing techniques and computer editing software. One of my underlying frustrations with digital photography is the distinct feeling of sterility. I think that digital processes have become so refined that nearly every image we encounter is dusted, anti-scratched and edited to the state of frozen perfection. The ‘saturation’ of images produced by the camera apparatus leave us to accept a desensitized version of the world in which we exist. With the evolution of digital cameras, the ‘medium’ of photography as being a mediation between image and observer is largely rendered obsolete: there is no materiality.

This project responds to such concerns through a deliberate materialist practice. By leaving in elements of dust, dirt and other material traces from the land, Fossils welcomes certain irregularities and contingencies that are produced outside the confines of the camera apparatus.

Todd Reece Johnson, Artist’s Statement

While in Berlin, Todd Johnson also took part in the group show Materialist Photography, December 2017 at Jarvis Dooney Galerie in Berlin Mitte.


SomoS’ Artist-in-Residence Program

Gallery Walk - 4th Global Diplomacy Lab © Bea Rodrigues/TRBM; Troublemakers Photography School for Creative Activism: Trans Activism Seminar Finissage
SomoS’ Artist-in-Residence Program offers cultivated, supportive and stimulating surroundings to international visiting artists, curators, researchers and academics wishing to realize an artistic project in Berlin. The residency, normally completed within three months, is focused on production, experience, critical discourse, networking, and local participation. Staying at SomoS, participants become a part of a thriving artistic community with an active exhibition and event program and will easily and swiftly become well-acquainted with the creative, networked city that is Berlin. More info about SomoS’ artist residencies