Museums & Galleries — January 13, 2013 at 8:18 pm

Smithsonian Acquires 50 Photos from the Soul Sanctuary Collection

Jason Miccolo Johnson

V I S U A L O S I T Y, I n c.
Photography   Books   Exhibitions    Lectures
NEWS RELEASE                                                Contact:  Alan Hermesch
December 20, 2012                                                              
                                                                                                       (301) 365-4762
Smithsonian Acquires 50 Photos from the Soul Sanctuary Collection
Washington, D.C. – The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has acquired 50 16” x 20” black and white photographs from the book
Soul Sanctuary: Images of the African American Worship Experience by the award-winning Washington-based photojournalist Jason Miccolo Johnson.  The photographs will become part of the museum’s permanent collection.
The images in Soul Sanctuary show a typical day in the life of a Sunday worship service in black churches across America, from the preparation of the sanctuary, to the praising, preaching, praying and the benediction. 
“As director of NMAAHC,” said Lonnie Bunch, “I cannot be more pleased and excited by the acquisition of these amazing images that document the work and creativity of Jason M. Johnson. These photographs capture the power, beauty and centrality of religion and the importance of the church in African American life.”
“This acquisition by the NMAAHC is one of the highlights of my professional career and is another milestone in an evolving legacy as a major photographer of African American culture,” said Johnson.  “I want to do in photography what August Wilson did in plays.”
Jason Miccolo Johnson’s photographs are perhaps best recognized for their trademark visual call-and-response shooting style where the focus is on the subject’s eyes and hands.  Nowhere else is this more evident than in his book and national exhibition,Soul Sanctuary (foreword by Gordon Parks, 2006).  His photographs have been described as “timeless” and “insightful.”
Johnson’s photographs have been included in two previous Smithsonian Institution exhibitions – Reflections in Black and Speak to my Heart.  His work is also in the permanent collection of the St. Louis Art Museum and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  He has exhibited on four continents and contributed photographs to 21 books, 53 magazines and two films.
The NMAAHC was created in 2003 by an Act of Congress, establishing it as part of the Smithsonian Institution. The museum will be the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to showcasing African American life, art, history and culture.  The museum is scheduled to open on the national mall in Washington, D.C., in 2015.
For further information about Jason Miccolo Johnson, visit