That’s how San Rafael photographer Steven Johnides succinctly and eloquently sums up what he strives for with his photography, which will be on display at the Mill Valley Chamber throughout December, with a wine reception set for the Mill Valley Arts Commission’s First Tuesday Artwalk on December 5, 5:30-7:30pm.
Johnides grew up in New York City, and fell for photography as a teen after his father gave him his first camera. He soon enrolled in photography classes, learned to process film, and proceeded to put together a darkroom at home. Johnides moved to Florida and studied photography in college in 1972. His career in photography had officially begun.
Fast forward to 2017, and Johnides continues to run his longstanding, successful Virtual Vision 360 company, for which he photographs homes for real estate companies and produces virtual tours. But while the day job pays the bills, it’s the nighttime that gives him the thrills.
Johnides moved to the Bay Area in 1976, opening a gallery for many years and then adopting two boys with his wife Malaney, spending the next 22 years in Noe Valley. They moved to Marin in October 2012, and soon after that Johnides began venturing out in the middle of the night to photograph at pre-dawn hours. These black-and-white photographs are part of the “Silent Witness – San Francisco at Dawn” series, a “peaceful, dramatic and evocative ongoing series depicting the city in a way rarely seen,” he says. That’s the series Johnides is exhibiting in December.
“I prefer to photograph at and around dawn,” he says. “I like the quiet solitude. The isolated pursuit helps me get in touch with myself. It allows me to get deeply engaged in what I am seeing around me. The camera is pointing both ways. It’s turning inward and outward at the same time. If something catches my eye, I stop and process what it is and why it caught my attention. Chances are there is a photograph there. I’m striving for an emotional reaction. I occasionally succeed and when that happens it is very satisfying.”
The 411: Steven Johnides showcases his “Silent Witness – San Francisco at Dawn” series of photos at the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center (85 Throckmorton Ave.), throughout December, with a wine reception set for the Mill Valley Arts Commission’s First Tuesday Artwalk on December 5, 5:30-7:30pm. MORE INFO.