We first spotted the work of photographer Tom M. Johnson in Popular Photography with a feature on his parking booth project, a series of unusual and arresting photos of Pittsburgh parking lot attendants in their booths. Intrigued, we read about Johnson, an editorial and advertising portrait photographer recently arrived in Pittsburgh, whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, O, and many other publications.
We connected with Tom and learned about The Pittsburgh Project, his ongoing series of portraits of Pittsburghers which was inspired by a talk by our mayor. Tom talked to many people around town asking for suggestions on who to photograph and thus far has photographed 16 subjects, all featured here.
“Since arriving in Pittsburgh I’ve been on a quest of finding a photographic project. I’m always with camera: making images of Pittsburgh’s multiple perspectives and textures; however, I was seeking a particular topic. Then a couple of months ago, I was at a PRA event where Mayor Peduto was the guest speaker. He gave a fascinating talk about the “Pittsburgh Story:” anecdotes of how Pittsburgh and its people turned the city around from its low in the late ’70s to what it has become today, ‘The Most Livable City in America.’
His talk inspired me to create my own Pittsburgh Story. I’m interested in making portraits of Pittsburgh’s most colorful and interesting people—not necessarily the successful entrepreneurs, famous athletes, TV personalities, or well-known politicians, but those folks who give Pittsburgh its flavor, color, and character. You might see these individuals when you go to a Pirates, Steelers, or Penguins game, or it could be your parking lot attendant. The kind of folks who make you smile and can warm you up on a dreary day. The person could be your butcher or mail lady, your favorite bartender or florist, your priest or tattoo artist or your lover or ex-lover. If you know of someone who you believe fits this description please send me their contact info or at least let me know where I can find them.”
Welcome to town, Tom M. Johnson. We look forward to seeing more.
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