Patterns in Nature

Written by Kurt Johnson on

We worked together, creating graphic statements that were “patterned” from strong lines and structure throughout the Shenandoah Medical Center MOB expansion and renovation.

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After choosing leaves from various plants and trees, we removed the color and then inversed the images. The result, which was printed on film, then applied to glass, looks like old school turn of the century etched glass, created by hand crafted artisans.

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The finished product is beautiful and calming, reinforcing the rhythmic vibrations of nature.

Techno flash: Black and White… a new breakthrough!

Written by Kurt Johnson on

In black and white, building lines and curves become front and center of the image without competing visual information.

Taking away color distills everything into just the form and the details of the structure.

You’re not distracted by how pretty the blue sky is.  Your eye sees the intent so much more clearly. But in the iPhone world we live in today, everything has to be over-saturated, HDR’d and exaggerated to the extreme in order to be noticed.   This is now our visual norm.


It’s just fun to take a black and white vacation sometimes and look at the essence of what you shot.  It’s always good to remember where you came from.

I wonder what Julius Schulman would say about this?

Any architects or desginers out there want to weigh in on the virtue of black and white vs. color? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Tucson in July!

Written by Kurt Johnson on

This was a tremendous opportunity, and taking a road trip to the southwest was a very exciting idea! However, after checking daily temperatures in Tucson, it gave me pause to reflect ….how are we going to do this??


We took the “local” approach to the exteriors, got up at 4 a.m., got to the sight slightly before sunrise, picked our angles, and when the sun got over the mountains, then is was “Shoot, Shoot and Shoot, Quickly!” Temperatures reached 115 degrees, but we had the proper gear, hats, SPF clothing and lots and lots of water. It’s a dry heat, much like an oven. One morning we were out a bit longer than the other mornings, and after a brief conversation on angles, I picked up my camera (thanks Canon for making it entirely black!) it felt like I touched a hot stove (should have learned that as a toddler).


The shoot went well, the client was happy, we had fun and enjoyed working with the talented people of DLR Group from Tucson and Omaha.

We learned that no matter the conditions, we can produce quality images; we learned how to integrate into a new and unique environment (desert survival skills) and we also learned that we love to go to new and unique places. We just hope none of our clients build a facility at the North Pole…which needs to be photographed!

Structured Vision

Written by Kurt Johnson on

The reason why I like to shoot architectural photography is that every space is different, and it never gets old. I love to see the architect’s and designer’s thought processes and their creativity in designing these spaces. And that’s the challenge – to represent, in 2 dimensions, what the designer and architect had in mind, and not get in the way. Let the space speak for itself. Click here to see our Architectural Portfolio on ISSUU.

From the Ground Up

Written by Kurt Johnson on

Sometimes pictures don’t need words or explanations. Here’s what I saw this Spring.

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From Conception to Delivery…

Written by Kurt Johnson on

Contributed by: Julie Robertson, Senior Interior Designer – HDR Minneapolis

The timeless artistic impression of the garden.

The Mother Baby Center is nestled in an existing building between Children’s Minnesota and United Hospital in St. Paul, MN. This location is one of 3 Mother Baby Centers within the Twin Cities. The brand for this service line, which was created by Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota, was very important and is carried through each facility with levels of uniqueness for each location relevant to its community.


Iconic Exterior, Super Graphics, Sculptural Ribbons and Lighting.

For United Mother Baby Center we focused on the gardens of St. Paul and brought them in through the flowering trees for the super graphics that created the art within the space. The sculptural ribbons were done differently than the last two projects with a more abstract flower shape and the lighting that was used really enhances the space and the patient experience. It defines the mood for the facility. With this design we created a space that mirrors the type of care Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota delivers.


 To be able to work with a photographer to capture and create such an important part of the brand was a must have.  Kurt Johnson Photography worked very hard and diligently to create the imagery for the first 2 Mother Baby Centers we designed and came through yet again for the “3rd Baby” at United Hospital.  The imagery chosen brings this facility to life and really showcases the level of aesthetic the client requires and how KJP can deliver to create the art within the architecture for a very fluid design.  Not only are their images and photo manipulation skills on point, the professionalism they display to keep the relationships with the designers and clients is exceptional to say the least.  I have enjoined every opportunity I have had to work with this team and look forward to many more amazing projects together!

Senior Interior Designer HDR Minnneapolis

Julie Robertson


Everything came together to make this stunning visual space.

Written by Kurt Johnson on

Lexington was one of the first installations where we got to provide ALL of the artwork….from the 90 foot vinyl wall covering down the main corridor, to the head walls, communication boards, and corresponding artwork in each patient room.

We didn’t just pick some pretty pictures, but we worked as a team to create one of a kind, unique images throughout the entire hospital.

Over 150 pieces contained multiple images layered together to make a creative visual statement.


The team from Lexington threw down the challenge to come up with something unique, something different, yet soothing and healing.  Art Director Tori Gerkin took it and ran with it and came up with “stop you in your tracks” multiple layering of landscape and botanical images.  These images, placed in the public spaces as well as the patient rooms, made a very impressive visual statement!

Jill Denker, Executive Director of Human Resources, and part of the core group, added,

The artwork, the design, and the functionality of our new space really matches our mission, vision and values: To be futuristic, forward thinking, and progressive. High quality healthcare without having to travel. And I love that the artwork is bright and happy, plus I hear over and over from our patients how calming it is as well”.


Nicole Thorell, Chief Nursing Officer, added,

“When we first started construction and were shown the artwork, I was not on board. Particularly with the headwalls. I thought, ‘why would we take money away from things the nurses could use’…I saw it as an extra expense. Then I stepped into a finished patient room. And I fell in love! Once I saw how the artwork was incorporated into the rooms and saw how it really made our patients feel, I was “in”.

When a project of this scope comes into your wheel house it pushes your boundaries and creativity to a place that only gets visited every once and awhile.  Thank you Aneetha and Lexington for taking us to that special place!

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Triple Crown

Written by Kurt Johnson on

Without inspiration, there is only normal.  With inspiration, there is contagious enthusiasm.

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We have been so lucky in working with such very talented architects and designers photographing THEIR inspired spaces.  It brings out the best in everyone, which has led us to our third “Best of Houzz” award.

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When photographing interiors for architects and designers, for me it has always been, “show their work, not mine”. It’s my job to get out of my way and let the spaces speak for themselves.  Most creative people like to have a big footprint, however I believe that “less is more” and in making the best possible image without making it…”look what I can do with a light or lens”.


Allina Mercy MotherBaby Center a Source of Pride

Written by Angel Carl on

The Allina Health Mercy MotherBaby Center at Children’s in Coon Rapids, MN, recently completed a KJP install and the space looks amazing!

This is the second phase of a three-phased project within the MotherBaby system, the first of which was completed for The MotherBaby Center at Abbott Northwestern & Children’s-Minneapolis, both of which were completed by HDR. As an alternative to botanicals used in the first project, indigenous waterscapes were used on a variety of substrates for the Coon Rapids installation.


Kurt, on site, working to capture the designer’s vision for the Mother Baby Center.

“This was great project,” said Kurt Johnson. “The designer really thought through the presentation of the photography in terms of how it would translate from hallway to birthing room. The panels down the hallway take the viewer on a soothing waterside walk and the floating art in the rooms is calming and comforting. I can’t begin to express how satisfying it is to have the photography be a part of such a healing vision.

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The lead designer on the project was Julie Robertson of HDR St. Paul/Minneapolis. “We wanted a variation of the brand we implemented for the Center at Abbott Northwestern and knew that a waterscape would make sense for the Coon Rapids location as the community sits on the Mississippi River. There is also a natural multi-faceted connection of water to the MotherBaby Center: Water protects the baby from the bumps of the outside world while in utero; and there is very little that is more soothing than the sight and of water gently lapping onto rocks and shore.”


Johnson added, “Julie had a distinct vision of what she wanted to convey with the photos.  It was our job to work with her to find the right shots to fulfill that vision.  It took a few stabs to get it right, but we’re really happy with the finished product!”

Projects that require such large proofs can be daunting, but KJP was prepared. An investment in new technology combined with KJP’s extensive experience with the pitfalls that can come with extremely large scale production values helped to keep the project on track.  “We’re so thrilled to be a part of this design and the team that brought the vision together.  It’s been an amazing process!”


8th Annual MinneCon a Success!

Written by Angel Carl on

The 8th Annual MinneCon was held at the Depot in Minneapolis this past July. The show hosted new commercial product introductions, educational programs, student events and networking for designers and manufacturers’ representatives. Kurt Johnson Photography was proud to partner with Kimball Furniture/Kimball Health and InVision Glass Design on a booth that showcased our collective efforts towards creating healing healthcare environments.   In addition to a vibrant exhibition, IIDA CEO, Cheryl Durst spoke on how the diverse multi-disciplinary aspects of design have impacted life, culture, commerce and brand.

Kimball Furniture

KJP showcased it’s new line of in-room glass boards, designed to be aesthetically pleasing while providing functionality to healthcare staff who need to keep patient notes and family contacts.  Our many thanks to our partners, Kimball Furniture/Kimball Health and InVision Glass Design for a great day on the showroom floor and for all of their help in making our vision come to life!

Kurt Works the Coward

Enjoy more great pictures of the event here.

From Fancy to Fish Lights: KJP Clients Create Amazing Work

Written by Angel Carl on

We’ve been spending a lot of our time sharing how nature photography and ensuing art can make a big impact for those being treated and working in healthcare environments. But, since it’s summer, we thought we would take a short break from evidence based design theories and all of the amazing ways you can use nature to make healthcare centers more attractive, more calming and more therapeutic. We also know many of you work outside of healthcare design — and that you have been busy!

KJP has been asked to shoot incredible design work from across the midwest as part of our architectural photography work this summer. From some of the most beautiful homes to spectacular non-residential spaces, KJP has had the privilege to capture these magnificent designs and we felt the need to share the amazing work of our clients with you.

Check these out!


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Thank you for choosing KJP as your architectural photographer to shoot these amazing finished spaces.  We can’t wait to see what’s up your other sleeve!

IIDA Tour of Nebraska Medicine Eagle Run Clinic Mixes Art and Fun

Written by Angel Carl on



Some of the IIDA Great Plains Chapter attendees hear from KJP President Carolyn Johnson


Kurt Johnson Photography thanks IIDA Omaha for hosting the May tour of the Nebraska Medicine Clinic at Eagle Run!

Attendees viewed some of our latest artistic applications of photo-realism in the beautifully designed sleek and modern, yet very welcoming clinic. Artwork chosen for the clinic included a combination of “slices,” our latest interpretation of botanical photography, as well as a series of close up shots designed to relax and soothe.

After a brief introduction by KJP President Carolyn Johnson and Principle Kurt Johnson, attendees were welcomed to visit all rooms, walkways and medical stations within the clinic at their own pace.

Kurt reiterated that the use of botanicals is certainly not a “photo-in-a-frame-only” solution, and that many substrates including glass, back lit panels, wall covering and acrylic can all be used to enhance a healthcare setting.

A quick call to Kurt Johnson Photography at (402) 850-6257 during the architectural design phase of your project can help you start your journey down the path to find unexpected and beautiful solutions for any healthcare environment.