Self-taught Photographer to be Featured Artist at Library

This photo of boats, taken in Bar Harbor, is one of the images Billings is showcasing in her show at the HD Moore Library in Steuben in June. Photo copyright Johanna S. Billings

Photographer Johanna S. Billings will be the featured artist for June at the Henry D. Moore Library and Parish House in Steuben.

Throughout the month of June, the public is welcome to browse her framed and unframed photos in various sizes. These will be offered for sale along with note cards, notebooks and jigsaw puzzles made with her photos.

Billings is a nationally award-winning photographer based in Steuben who specializes in shooting shooting still life, scenery, insects, wildlife and pets.

Billings is also an accomplished writer who got her start at a small newspaper in Pennsylvania. The editor asked her to take a photo to go with a story and handed her an SLR camera. Billings’ response was classic: “What button do I push?”

That first adventure soon led her into the darkroom and she won her first photography award with a shot taken from the first roll of black and white film she ever processed. After moving to another newspaper that did not use a darkroom, Billings, who is self taught, took a break from photography, returning to it about 12 years ago with the advent of digital.

She and her husband, Sean, did the photography for their two books on antique glass, “Collectible Glass Rose Bowls” (Antique Trader Books, 1999) and Peachblow Glass (Krause Publications, 2001). Her work has also appeared in magazines such as “Cat Fancy” and “Victorian Decorating & Lifestyle,” in books by other authors and in various price guides for antiques and collectibles. She also was able to photograph both former President Barak Obama (and Air Force One!) and former Soviet President Mihail Gorbachev.

Since taking up digital photography, Billings has gone on to win numerous awards, including a first-place finish in the bi-annual North American Butterfly Association photo contest. She has frequently earned first-place awards from the National Federation of Press Women, including one for a shot of a horse-drawn hearse used in the funeral of a 12-year-old boy. A macro shot of water droplets on a fern in Acadia National Park was recently named one of the top 20 all-time photos on the BetterPhoto.com. Billings’ photo was selected from more than 16,000 entries chosen from previous BetterPhoto contest winners.

Billings’s work can be seen on her website at jsbillingsphoto.com. She also has a blog at http://johannasbillings.com which often covers topics related to photography. Her work is also available at Expressions Gallery in Machias and at Swamp Yankee Barbecue in Jonesboro.

Billings works at Eagle Hill Institute in Steuben, assisting with publication of the institute’s scientific journals and its arts, science and lecture programs. She assists Eagle Hill with running the annual Northeast Natural History Conference and handles the institute’s publicity efforts. She also does freelance writing and photography for a limited number of clients under the business name Just the Write Touch.

The show is open during regular library hours which are 5:30-8:30 p.m. Mondays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday. The library is closed Sundays and Fridays.

For more information, call the library at 207-546-7301 or email 207-546-7301 or email jbenedict@moore.lib.me.us. Billings can be reached at russophile64@gmail.com.