HILLARY JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHY
  THE WATERS WE SWIM IN
  THE GOLDEN THREAD
  THE PERSISTENCE OF VANISHING THINGS
  THE END OF HONG KONG
  HONG KONG: VING TSUN EPICENTER
Chicago IL

TESTIMONIALS


I am still swimming in the magical experience we had this morning. Being part of your project “water we swim in” is incredibly meaningful. Thank you for a magical experience that healed my soul and reconnected me to the universe. 

DEE C


I think this work is really important right now, as I think people really need to connect with nature more than ever. 

STEPHANIE (no photo)


You asked me to say more about the project and how it speaks to me. Firstly, the beauty of the images. They seem classic and eternal. Time is frozen and thus the subject becomes immortal (there are no markers of the present moment in your images except perhaps the swimsuits, so they could be visions from centuries ago). There is an ethereality, a spirituality, that encompasses us, and a power that you tap into through your use of light and nature. Something primal is released.

Thank you so much! I love the pictures! There is such a variety of moods in the photos. So much being revealed, but different things in different photos. Some of them are so intense! It's like a journey moving through them from first to last. It is like an experience is being undergone and in the final photo looking up at the sky there is a sense of peace and wonder at what has opened up and what is possible.

I appreciate the privilege of working with you and I'm so happy with what we created as artist and subject!

ROBERT P


"The Waters We Swim In" is a retreat toward calm and reflection during these turbulent times. Viewing these photos allows us to be a part of each subject's private moment of self care and pause for breath. We carry that moment with us for a while, lightly, as we consider the personal depths we are navigating. 

I wanted to be a part of "The Waters We Swim In" the moment I saw the first image. Life is moving so fast and with such uncertainty in this time of COVID-19, and I feel disjointed by the lightning pace of the news versus the molasses time of self quarantine. The tragedy of the murders of people of color by the police, and the fury of the ensuing protests, rip at my guts. This all has done strange things to my own self-examination and my recently renewed efforts to make art, as I desperately seek a place of calm and reflection to find my voice. Of course, making art draws me into another agonizing place in which people have more time to explore their creativity while arts-based organizations are withering and dying before our eyes. While I was floating for this project I was thinking of all of those things and how I can honor the importance of this unprecedented time while inviting the passion I see around me to help me evolve into the best version of myself. 

CATHY H

 

 


I am not an early morning person; especially when it involves cold weather.
My favorite time of year is summer. I love the sun and warm weather.
Yet, on this first day of autumn, 2020, at 6 am, I took the plunge.
Literally.
Because I was intrigued by this work The Waters We Swim In.
Because our collective waters have been murky and cloudy this year.
Because my own waters have harbored many sorrows.
When I go to the water-any body of water: creek, stream, river, lake- I feel safe:
in a special, sacred place.
a haven.
a place I go to just be.
I am constantly drawn to water.
 
I have deep respect for water. 
The lake can be unpredictable and wild, but this morning, I felt completely held and loved by the water.
Even as the waves were pushing me towards the shore...it felt playful and made me giggle.
 
Today, Hillary immediately put me at ease and I placed my trust in her completely.
This water experience was beyond anything I could have envisioned; one I know I have not even begun to process. 
I feel I will reap the benefits of this water meditation for weeks to come.
Thank you, Hillary. 
Much gratitude

THERESA


It is rare that I am the subject of pictures, unless I’ve taken it myselfie. I haven’t “sat” for photographs since my senior pictures. There’s a part of me that secretly relishes being the subject of photos, and another part that was scared to do this. But I have gotten to know Hillary over the last year (and change) and I know she’s a centered and kind being, so I was ready to take the leap for my first adult photo shoot with her. I have no idea what I feared, but absolutely zero of that happened. It was a joy to be encouraged by her, with her improvisational style, to find different things I could do to “pose” without being too pose-y or unnatural. She’s super easy, and calming, and I trusted her, and it was all so cool that if that was it, I’d have been happy. But then she sent me a couple photographs, and they floored me! She captured my soul, said one friend. I love the way she “got” me, and I love the style of her photographs.

I loved everything about this experience with Hillary.

Follow her, go see her work, and HIRE HER when you need photographs.

KELLY D


The short story of it is, I saw some of Hillary’s portrait work and decided to go for it. This lady is amazing and empowering!

The “long” story of it is, I met Hillary at a Mac & Cheese event and immediately noticed how she exudes calm. I haven’t been very keen on being photographed, afraid of how the pictures would turn out, the judgment. As it turns out, her calming nature was just what I needed in a photographer to get over my fears. Hillary took the time to discuss my expectations – why did I want photos and doubts – why was I freaking out about it. I walked into the shoot with all the necessary tools…except for modeling skills. No worries! Hillary had that covered. She provided guidance every step of the way from wardrobe selection to the “poses” (or simply letting go) to that gentle nudge to say “yes, and”.

One can tell photography, her art, is something that brings Hillary absolute joy. It’s contagious and it comes through in her photos. So happy I had this experience. Book her! Now! Really!

CICELY H