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Craig Johnson’s Photos Recognized Internationally

Craig Johnson, a long-time member of the Anderson Artists Guild and a world traveler, was out on the bow of a cruise ship twelve years ago photographing the glorious Norwegian fjords at sunrise. Seeing as he was standing on top of a trash can to get a clear view over dark smoked glass windshields, a curious British woman approached him, figuring he might be a real photographer. Passengers don’t normally take a precarious stand on top of trash cans while a ship is underway, or otherwise. They happily talked shop about photography. She eventually told him about a London website called Paint My Photo. It’s a place where photographers post their work to receive feedback and to allow artists use of the photographs for inspiration without concerns about copyright infringement.


At last count, more than 250 paintings, drawings, and sculptures have been created using Johnson’s photographs as source materials. Even better, about two dozen of these original works have been sent to him from Germany, England, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and the U.S. All the rooms in his house, including the bathrooms, have these paintings on display. Many of these paintings would easily be admitted to juried shows and sale galleries, he said, adding, “Most photographers get only money for their work. I get to watch artisans grow in their craft, and sometimes I get to touch their creative delights firsthand and enjoy them in my world. I’m one of the best compensated photographers in the world.”


When Johnson first got involved with Paint My Photo, photographers could also compete for recognition. Because so many of them (about 50,000 from around the world) participated on the site, being voted for meant something. There were monthly contests as well as a yearly selection as Photographer of the Year.


Johnson liked the idea of sharing his work, and he took part in the contests, which he won often. One year, he came out on top six or seven times.


He was asked to share some of those award winners here; they can be seen above.


For more information about Johnson, visit


You can visit Paint My Photo at It’s free to participate, but registration is required.


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