Mpls / St. Paul Magazine // Citizen Style


For the September issue of Mpls / St. Paul magazine, I was asked to photograph a set of portraits for their fall fashion story. It turns out that I had a connection to all of the people, which made photographing this all the more special. 

When it comes to photographing real people in a 'fashion' sense - I love to still make it feel real. I wanted the portraits to be authentic to who our subjects were and why they had been chosen to highlight their personal style. 

I wanted to share some of my favorite outtakes and behind the scenes from this shoot, because the energy with all of our subjects was absolutely amazing! A big thank you to Betsey Kershaw, Kimberly Ferguson, Linda Kaysen and Paul Buttenhoff for all the great moments! You can check out the full story here

Behind the Scenes//

ELIESA JOHNSON // New Brand Identity!


Brand identity work by Dschwen

I am super excited to share the new identities of all of our companies! This is our eleventh year of business and as our work and businesses grow and become more refined, so do our brands. Last year, we took on the big project of updating all of our websites and this year brought along the next phase of that project, which was to unify all of the brands. We worked with the brilliant mind of David Schwen of Dschwen to bring this all together and I am SO happy with how it turned out! Each company still has it's own individual presence, while still feeling cohesive with all we do here in the studio. 

The new logo for ELIESA JOHNSON was inspired by how I sign my prints. The old logo was my full signature, but how I really sign my work is simply with an 'e'. I love the simplicity of the logo and can't wait to roll our more design elements and portfolio books with this! You'll also notice that we have new fonts, which are easier to read on the site! 

You can check out all of our other brands at the sites below:

Philando Castile March //


Philando Castile's mother, girlfriend, cousin and family lead the march to the Governor's mansion in St. Paul, MN. 

Sometimes the only way I know how to express myself is to take photos. So, I showed up. If you were not able to be at the march or vigil for Philando Castile today, I hope these images are helpful for you to understand all the emotion, concern, awareness, conversation and change that needs to happen in our world today. 

2015 Design 100 // Mpls / St. Paul Home & Design Magazine

Photo by Paul Nelson

Photo by Paul Nelson

The Design 100 is one of my favorite stories to be a part of each year. It lives in the pages of Mpls / St Paul Home & Design magazine and I just always love how this turns out. The Design 100 is a story about the 100 best people, products and places that add style to home and design. This includes rad spaces, talented artists and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a lot of our favorite products. Maybe I love this story so much, because it is about the artists and where their hustle comes from. 

The images below are from the 2015 Design 100 issue and I was able to photograph a few folks for this article. Big thank you to Ashley Mary Art, Keith Wyman of Concrete Pig, Erin Francois of Francois et Moi and the wonderful Lisa Balke and Susan Blankenship of Victory Vintage

Ashley and Ashley Mary Art

Keith of Concrete Pig

Erin of Francois et Moi

Lisa and Susan of Victory Vintage

2016 James Beard Awards


Lyric Opera House // Chicago

The 2016 James Beard Awards happened this week in Chicago and I was beyond honored and thrilled to be a part of documenting this night. Photographing an event at this caliber is a full production and I had an amazing time working with the James Beard Foundation and their team. I shot alongside 3 other photographers that night, as well as my assistant, Jackson Faith

Our specific focus for the night was on the VIP dinner, which was made by Cosmo Goss of Publican, Erling Wu-Bower of Nico Osteria, Perry Hendrix of Avec and Nicole Guini of Blackbird. Their teams hustled to create some amazing dishes for the guests backstage as the awards, which were hosted by Carla Hall, began. 

The night was an amazing experience and I wanted to share a few of my favorite moments. I especially wanted to give a little nod to our hometown of Minneapolis - and a big congratulations to Chef Paul Berglund of The Bachelor Farmer who won the award for Best Chef: Midwest. Beyond that, it was exciting to see so many faces from our city represented!

Erling Wu-Bower of Nico Osteria // VIP dinner prep

Cosmo Goss of Avec // Chef Portraits


Gala Reception 



North Minneapolis // Jamar Clark March


Joyce Clark, sister of Jamar Clark. 

I went to North Minneapolis today on a bit of a whim. I was in my studio, eating lunch and watching the news as the story continued to unfold of the Jamar Clark case. I realized that this is all happening in our city and I felt the need to go talk to the people and document this time.

It's a bit of a departure from my regular work, but I think that is what makes it worth showing. I started my photography career in photojournalism and it's moments like this that do matter to me and remind me why I am a photographer. 

Archived Favorites// MSP Best of Restaurants

Bryan Morcom of Restaurant Alma

Steven Brown of Tilia

One of my favorite features that I photographed in 2015 was the Best of Restaurants issue for Mpls / St Paul Magazine. Time has been passing far too quickly this year already, but I wanted to make it a priority to share some of my favorite images. 

I connected with this feature so much, because not only was beautiful food a part of the story, but capturing portraits of the Chefs and their kitchens was another element to it. I find the making of a dish and the dance of the cooks in the kitchen so intriguing.

I've always been excited about the images that came out of this story and I hope you are, too. 



A couple of months ago, I was approached by Norway House and asked to be the next artist for their Galleri exhibit. The organization had been following our work and took note that I had traveled to Norway not so long ago. They also had admired the work in general that we have been doing - all of the food photography, especially. So, together we curated an exhibit that focuses on showing a more modern Norway. 

The entire process of putting this show together was awesome for me. It challenged me artistically in ways that I haven't been in a while. Almost all of these images were moments that were captured, not intending to be in an exhibit together. However, I love that an overall body of work - filled with personal experiences, family history and stylized food shots - all came together to make one rad photo exhibit. 

The Galleri show at Norway House is now open to the public and will run through May 1 -- I hope you all get a chance to stop by! We also have put together an exclusive print shop on our website, with 25 of our favorite images from the show. (See below)


The Salty Tart //


Salty Tart has released a new website and I am so happy to have been a part of this project! I have admired Chef Gayer for a long time - her energy, her hustle, and her amazing baked goods, so being asked to photograph new images for her was a dream. 

We wanted to bring a light and fresh look to her bakery and also a subtlety to the images - we wanted her gorgeous baked goods to speak for themselves. Everything that Michelle and her team make is rustic, free form, from scratch - and down right beautiful. We collaborated with Liz Gardner from Bodega LTD. on the styling for this shoot and came up with a series of images that are just so damn pretty. We also spent time at the bakery of Salty Tart and caught some of the real moments of their team working. 

Behind the Scenes // 

Food and Wine Magazine // January 2016


The January issue of Food and Wine magazine is officially on newsstands and I couldn't be more excited about starting off the year with this feature. The story is all about hot dish - naturally a midwest classic. Chef Gavin Kaysen modernized some of his classic recipes and along with some good ole Lutheran church ladies - we debated the age old question - is it called Casserole or Hot Dish?

It's always such a pleasure to photograph for Food and Wine and for this project, we collaborated with Jon Wipfli of The Minnesota Spoon to lend a hand as our food stylist. Together with the F&W team and Chef Kaysen, we took over Gavin's restaurant, Spoon and Stable, for this on-location shoot. 

I am so pumped about this story, you must definitely check it out - and don't forget those fun behind-the-scene photos below! As always, thank you to our crew + the staff at Spoon and Stable for letting us take over!

Behind the Scenes//