The Photography Junkies Interview with Frederick Van Johnson

(c) Frederick Van Johnson

(c) Frederick Van Johnson

I want to bring you the people who inspire me and often it's what they do or who they are that inspires me.

This time around i caught up with Frederick Van Johnson host of one of the podcasts that i listen to most regularly called This Week In Photo.

it's a general photography news and discussion show Hosted by Frederick  and on there he is joined by a panel and they discuss all things photography.

Here is the interview if you want to watch it live

For those who cannot watch the full video here is the shortened interview with a selection of Fredericks Personal Work

So tell me about you? early days obviously you were not born with a camera in your hand

when did you first pick one up?

Well I think ive always been relatively creative, even as a kid it manifested itself in different ways.

It wasnt until I went into the Air Force and they said 'hey Frederick Van Johnson you are now a photographer!'

it was welcoming but it was kind of like a light bulb went off. i mean there is so much to learn about new equipment new trends etc it never seems to get old for me.

So the Air Force taught you the groundwork for photography what did that entail?

Yes. when i went in we were shooting with film i was shooting primarily with Nikon F3's.

I had a full complement of lenses i mean my bag had to weigh 150lb at least.

You got the full training from how to shoot and maintain your equipment right the way through to printing and not only that how to present the final image to the customer.


So when you were lugging your gear around you also had to carry your gear or were you able to offload

some ammunition to save space?

Your job in the services is a photographer is your primary mission but when you're in harms way to know when to pick up the weapon.

You actually go through some classes as to know when to shoot or shoot.


did you see much in the way of active combat?

are you allowed to say about that?

No I didn't luckily I was a base level photographer.

What that means is the base is basically a small city so when the

So you left the army in what year?

i went in 1989 and left in 96

Nitda Cee-65-Edit

(c) Frederick Van Johnson

And from there you went to?

I left the Military and took a job at the San Jose Mercury News.

That was the time when Yahoo was the Crowned prince of the world!

That in retrospect because it put me smack bang in the middle of Silicone Valley

During your time at yahoo what did your job involve?

At Yahoo initially i was in charge of Yahoo computers which was yahoos thing that was in competition with CNET.

From there i went from there to yahoo finance vision where i became the technology host which was also my first time in front the camera.

What was it like working at apple?

It's great you know Apples a pressure cooker a lot of what the rumours say are true.

It was fun.

So related to photography what did the time you spent at yahoo and apple teach you?

I think from my time there wasnt so much a photography learning experience more a world-class marketing lesson.

Golden Gate 2013-1000525

Ok camera list time whats in your bag?

It varies but today im going to be shooting some video and i will be using the Panasonic GX7

how many shows are you up to now?

We are up to 336 {at time of writing}


So between the two of the shows whats your overall aim is there a certain thing you want to achieve?

Yes we are working towards making the show bigger and branching off into its own verticals as well as the main show such as this week in HDR for example allowing a much more focused show within those subjects which would then fall under the main umbrella of the main show.


So lets talk media bites tell me about that. How does it work? 

Media bites is a site that i started and the idea behind it is I love training i love marketing specifically internet marketing.

So the idea is to take specific subjects such as for example I want to create a podcast like Frederick creates a podcast so there would be a free simple version which would give the basics of how to create it and a premium version that goes much more into detail on how to do it.


(c) Frederick Van Johnson

(c) Frederick Van Johnson

I realise money is a dirty subject but its something people generally want to know how do you pay the bills?

I try not to only kidding.

I do some high-end marketing consulting for companies here in Silicone Valley plus this week in photo also generates income too so between the 2 I do ok.

from previous experience in website development and SEO i know that a good plan from the start can be crucial so

what business advice would you give to a photographer who is making that transition from being a

good amature

to being a professional?

Dont be seduced by the lure of social media. as a business owner you need to own the relationship with your customers.


Whats next for Frederick Van Johnson?

In 2014 I will be laser pointing my efforts towards Media bites and this week in photo

Do you have personal projects?

Media bites and twip are my personal projects. the way I have structure my life around. the things I enjoy doing are the things I like to spend my time doing.


Where do you find your inspiration?

It comes from people such as yourself and magazines.   The internet and the people on it are all inspiring to me

I ask this to everyone as the opinion is all over the place but is professional photography dying?

Well no.   I think its changing and evolving just like a tree changes and evolves.  As the tree grows some branches die others are born.

Theres a new influx of people coming in all the time with a fresh look and fresh ideas so if anything i think it's getting stronger.

What would you say are your predictions for the future?

Oh wow.  yeh that's tough I don't think I have predictions more wishes. like the combination of cell phone and camera I hope that continues to evolve.

I hope google glass gets better looking and more hip.

I think as far as evolution of technology we are on the right track.


(c) Frederick Van Johnson

(c) Frederick Van Johnson

If the worst happened and you dropped dead tomorrow what would be your thing to be remembered by?

Publicly it would be this week in photo privately I hope it would be my family.

I hope that does not happen any time soon because i have a lot in my bucket to empty before I kick it.

The 411 on Frederick

Main website for Frederick is

Media bytes can be found at

This week in Photo can be found at

Many thanks to Frederick and best wishes from me to his future endeavours