Chris Johnson currently serves as a Full Professor of Photography for the California College of the Arts, where he has taught since 1977. His work has been part of several notable collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian Institution, the Oakland Museum, the Center For Creative Photography In Tucson, Arizona.
Johnson is the author of The Practical Zone System: for Film and Digital Photography, currently in its fourth edition. He has been president of SF Camerawork, director of the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography, and chair of City of Oakland's Cultural Affairs Commission.
In 2007 Johnson originated and designed the Oakland International Airport's Southwest Airlines Media Wall installed in the baggage claim area. Together with Hank Willis Thomas he recently received a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation for a work-in-progress titled, Question Bridge: Black Males.
Johnson's artwork is in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Smithsonian Institution, the Oakland Museum, the Center for Creative Photography, and the Polaroid International Collection.
Johnson has studied with Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Wynn Bullock.