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I am a photographer purely by accident. I had planned in high school to become a cultural anthropologist, but my parents insisted I “go into computers.” While working as a software engineer, my love for studying distant cultures and world religions never wavered. I traveled to Asia as often as I could to explore the cultures first hand. My interest in photography developed as a natural extension of traveling through Asia. Even though I am self-taught, my technical and artistic skills grew at an exponential pace, allowing me to win many photographic competitions within just a few months of owning my first Canon SLR.
Even though I was highly successful in Information Technology (I’m a former Associate Vice President of Bank of America), I felt compelled to pursue cultural and street photography in Asia full time; I decided to take a “leap of faith.” I left my highly successful IT career and moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, accepting a job as an English teacher, barely earning US$800 a month, while working on self-assigned (and self-financed) projects.
The gritty poverty and social unrest encountered during my travels in Indonesia demanded not only my attention, but also my photographic involvement. Harsh realities cannot be ignored; I had to show the world what I was witnessing. My photographic interest began to migrate from cultural and travel photography, to include humanist and special interest subjects. Poverty, gender inequality, cruel treatment of the disabled, political corruption, and man-made environmental destruction are some of the subjects I capture.
My photographic work goes beyond exposures. My passion is to capture what I call “slices of life” and “micro-histories” of individuals and communities as they endure the hardships of third-world life. I show the world what is unfolding in places rarely seen or heard of. Utilizing wide-angle lenses, I am not a voyeur, but a welcomed neutral participant who gives a voice to people who are desperate to communicate to the world what they are enduring. I am a witness to these dark realities, and viewers are the judges and jurors who must contemplate and deliberate on the graphic evidence I give them.Rodney Leandrew Johnson 's current location:
Phnom Pehn , Cambodia
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