The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Chris Johns Oral History Interview. December 15, 2014

Chris Johns Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

December 15, 2014

Location:  National Geographic Society Headquarters, Washington, D.C.

Chris Johns (b. 1951), a native of Central Point, Oregon, attended OSU from 1970-1974, studying Agriculture before changing his major to Technical Journalism. A photojournalist for the OSU student newspaper, Johns went on to become a lauded photographer for several newspapers and magazines, and was named National Newspaper Photographer of the Year in 1979. In 1988 Johns began a formal association with National Geographic magazine, where he was hired as a staff photographer, and spent the next two years living and working in Africa. In the late 1990s, Johns joined the magazine's editorial staff and, in 2005, he was named Editor in Chief, the ninth such person to hold this position since the founding of National Geographic in 1888. His interview focuses on the roots of his love for photojournalism and the arc of his career as a photographer, writer and editor.