Joey Johnson, ’19 is the only freshman ever to take photography as a class. To accompany his work being displayed in this week’s Art Show, he explains his essence as a photographer:

1.) What got you into photography?

Going on fishing trips in the Patapsco with my father got me into photography. I wanted to record our father/son memories as well as capture the environment around us. I was particularly interested the ruins of old buildings and structures around the river.

This lead to my passion for Urban Exploration (Urbanex for short) Photography. I go into and explore abandoned buildings to photograph them. My inspiration for this is that I feel I’m preserving pieces of history.

2.) How does it feel to be the only freshman ever in photography? How did you get in?

Determined, I contacted and talked to Mr. Bienek, and sent him a few of my best photos. Luckily, in my persistence and in my photos, he saw something that made him think I was ready for the class.

I am very grateful that he took a chance on letting me take the class because it has turned out very well. I have gotten A’s for all three marking periods so far, and I love taking the class. The upperclassmen treat me with respect. I appreciate them and their love for photography, and I think they feel the same way towards me.

2016-04-17_14608543883.) What inspires you to take the photos you take?

Most people never think of going inside these derelict buildings because they seem scary or ugly, so in my photos I try to let them have a look inside and show that there is still beauty in decay. My photos are very important to me because they not only save the beauty of these buildings before they’re demolished, but they also remind me of the great adventures I had with my father and my friends.

4.) What are some of the places that you have gone to take pictures?

On my most recent Urbanex adventure, my father and I drove 200 miles to a town in the Poconos to explore an abandoned honeymoon resort. It was an amazing experience, and I hope to have many more like it.

5.) Where is your favorite place to take pictures?

My favorite place to take photos is Ilchester, MD, mainly because I have made countless memories exploring there and taking photos with my friend Stephen Mosberg, who also goes to St. Joe. In the summer, we like to walk from his house down to the river and the abandoned houses nearby.

6.) Do you hope to pursue a career in photography?

I hope I will pursue a career in photography in the future. My dream job is to travel the globe as a National Geographic Photographer, to take pictures of the wonderful world we live in.

* To see more examples of Joey’s work, visit @jmjohnsonphotography on Instagram.