Michael Johnson has been photographing rural America for more than forty years. He is a traditional large format photographer, producing silver/gelatin prints from view camera negatives. His large black and white photographs have been exhibited throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. They are acquired by museums, corporations, hospitals, and private collectors.

A self-taught photographer, Johnson traces his inspiration to the European master painters of the 17th century. However, his vision has been shaped by the land itself, especially by the landscape of the driftless area of Northwestern Illinois.

Johnson’s love for the land extends to other areas of his life as well. He and his wife, Patricia, have planted thousands of trees on their family tree farm near Mount Carroll, Illinois, where they operate a small sawmill and sustainable hardwood lumber business. They were named Illinois Outstanding Tree Farmers in 2003 by the American Tree Farm System.




  • Sprint
  • International Business Machines Corporation
  • Mobil Oil Corporation, Houston
  • McDonald’s Corporation
  • The Hyatt Corporation, Chicago
  • Mastercard
  • Ratheon Corporation
  • The CocaCola Company
  • Citycorp, Kansas City
  • The Marriott Corporation
  • Lowe Lintas and Partners, Chicago
  • Commercial Bank, Chicago
  • HNTB Corporation, Kansas City
  • Texaco USA, Houston
  • The Morgan Trust Bank
  • B.D.O. Seidman, Chicago
  • Masonite Corporation, Chicago
  • Chubb & Son Inc.
  • Atlantic Mutual Company, Madison, NJ
  • Arthur Andersen and Company
  • Pacific Telesis, San Francisco
  • Texas Instruments
  • McKinsey and Company, Chicago
  • Ray-O-Vac Corporation, Madison, WI
  • Emerson Electric Corporation, St. Louis
  • The Farm Credit Administration, St. Louis
  • Bear, Stearns & Co., NYC
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources
  • Fox Broadcasting Network




  • The Art Institute of Chicago
  • National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Inst.
  • The Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ
  • The Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  • The Cincinnati Art Museum
  • The California Museum of Photography, Riverside
  • The Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL
  • The Krannert Museum, Champaign, Illinois
  • The Dennos Museum, Traverse City, Michigan
  • The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina
  • The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, Lincoln, NE
  • San Jose Museum of Art


  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
  • The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, MA
  • University of Iowa Hospitals, Iowa City, IA
  • New England Medical Center, Boston, MA
  • Las Vegas Federal Medical Center, Nellis Air Force Base
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Houston, TX
  • Covenant Medical Center, Waterloo, IA
  • Mercy Hospital, Iowa City, IA