Originally Carolyn Johns trained as a documentary photographer with Magnum Photographers in Wales and France. These were not only her mentors, they were the photographers that were responsible for bringing back picture stories of what was happening in the world. These photo stories, were often the first images to reveal the truth of events in countries that would not have had a voice, e.g The Czechoslovakian invasion in Prague by the Soviets 1968 (Josef Koudelka) and the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 (David Hurn) or the Korean War in Oct 1953 (Bert Hardy). These stories braced the covers of leading European English and American Magazines – National Geographic, Life Magazine, Paris Match, Sunday Times, London Observer, London Telegraph and Picture Post.
This was the beginning of her journey of ‘communicating and capturing energy’. The job was to create dynamic picture stories. Always, the question: What are the key images that tell the story? And so, this was the basis apon which she approached every job.
Becoming one of Australia’s most experienced film stills, portrait and documentary photographers, Carolyn produced picture stories and portraits within the magazine, publishing, corporate, advertising and film industries beginning at the London Film Festival in 1978.
Arriving back in Australia in 1981, George Millers’ Mad Max 2 with Mel Gibson was her first feature film.
More than forty feature films and telemovies later, she was commissioned by studios in AUST, US, UK & CANADA (WARNER BROS, MGM, UNIVERSAL, H.B.O. SHOWTIME, ABC AMERICA, ICON UK & AUST, WORKING TITLE, MIRAMAX) - films such as 'Babe', 'Babe - Pig in the City', 'The Quiet American', ‘Ned Kelly', 'The Tender Hook', Getting’Square, 'Don’t be Afraid Of The Dark' with Guillermo Del Toro 2009
In 1981 Carolyn was included as one of 100 photographers chosen around the world to be represented in the classic book 'A Day In the Life Of Australia'.
A founding member of the Wildlight Photo Agency, she became one of the first Australian photographers to be commissioned by US National Geographic while also being regularly commissioned and published in publications, such as Time Magazine, Life, Newsweek, the London Sunday Times, London Observer, Fortune, London Telegraph, Qantas in-flight magazine, The Independent - London, Australian Country Style, Who, Conde Naste’s Traveller & Vanity Fair. Many of these assignments were to photograph leading Australian celebrities e.g Dame Edna Everidge, Barry Humphries and Prime Ministers Keating and a weekend with David Lange in New Zealand for Conde Naste Traveller.
Intertwined with film, her work extended to cover Corporate and Advertising, Editing a Magazine, Company Branding, PR & Marketing.
In 2008/09 'THE STORY OF FOOD' was created as a series of photographs to highlight how much our value and love of food had changed from the 30’s when food was understood.
Then another exhibition called 'LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDOURED THING' was created showcasing moments of beauty in nature, food and traditional life.
‘Love is a many splendoured thing. It’s the April rose that only grows in the early spring' by Paul Francis Webster.
'So magical a part of nature, that it only happens in an instant. It is easy to fall in love in that moment, for that’s what photography is brilliant at documenting - the constant movement and beauty of life and its seasons stilled in a second.’