Best Photographer: Eirik Johnson

Locally raised and trained at the UW, Eirik Johnson recently returned home from Boston to teach photography at Cornish and continue documenting the boondocks. As seen in published collections including Sawdust Mountain (about the post-logging economy) and Camps & Cabins (depicting seasonal hunting and farming communities), he’s fascinated by how—after the first wave of resource extraction by the pioneers—nature somehow comes back. It may no longer be so pristine as in Edward Curtis scenes (selective though they were), but the old forests and rivers gradually adapt. And the grandsons and granddaughters of the old loggers and fishermen must adapt, too. The sawmills have closed, server farms spring up in the desert, and Seattle restaurants pay more for a pound of fresh, locally sourced morels than a member of the Denny party could possibly have imagined. From Doc Maynard to Jeff Bezos, values change over time, and Johnson’s work shows us how our environment also changes over time.

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