Arthur “King Arthur” Johnson is a creative juggernaut. As a Detroit native, Arthur embodies the grit, hustle, and culture this city thrives on. Arthur has fought through an insurmountable amount of adversity which he’s detailed in his forthcoming book “8ight: Calling Of A Lost Soul.” Now, he’s making waves through his innovative photography program at his alma mater, The Detroit School of Arts.
BLAC: How would you describe Arthur “King Arthur” Johnson?
Arthur: As a sociable, talented, and driven creative who is passionate about using his gifts and abilities to inspire those who come after him.
BLAC: When you think of the word “photography,” what comes to mind?Arthur: The process it takes to capture the art. The color schemes, lighting, and composition choices can create a timeless photo filled with emotions that can be felt once viewed. This requires one to acknowledge that things wouldn’t be beautiful without having an ugly side to it.
BLAC: Since starting Inside My Lens at the Detroit School of Arts, how has your journey been?
Arthur: Nothing less than amazing through various adversities! The journey began in the fall semester of 2019–2020, where the students had the chance to learn camera operations, take photos with models, and other skills in photography.
Doors were beginning to open up fully, but COVID-19 suddenly erupted causing the program to be postponed for over a year. Since starting back up, COVID-19 restrictions have hindered a few things, but we’re steadily growing and developing. We’ve had the pleasure of working with some returning students from the last course and new students who’ve been engaged and eager to learn.
BLAC: As a creative and the program director, what is the most significant thing you’ve learned?
Arthur: Telling stories is no longer a pastime; telling stories is now a career pathway. Teaching students the art of photography and providing them with the proper tools allows them to express themselves creatively. Photography is more than just taking photos — it’s a way to convey beauty to the eye of the beholder, which is essential for youth to understand when things get ugly in their lives. With everything around us dictating the way we think and live, photography gives a voice to those who struggle with being heard.
BLAC: Why do you think continuing the development of Inside My Lens is important?
Arthur: Photography is a lucrative business that doesn’t require an age limit. It only requires a polished set of skills. For students to believe and understand this, they need to see that they can start now. Within our program, we inspire students and let them know that you don’t have to be an older person or a straight-A student to become a great photographer. Through Inside My Lens, we want to create career opportunities and gain as many scholarships as possible for students to learn photography at the college level.
BLAC: What are your plans for the remainder of 2022?
Arthur: Raise money and receive donations to open up our own facility to teach students and build with other non-profit organizations and photography programs within the city.