From the Surfers Journal magazine biography about me in the Surfers Journal issue that featured my portfolio. Reprinted with permisson.
“I had arranged the meeting with photographer Mark Johnson for noon at the Hawaiian-style plate lunch truck that sits across from Rocky Rights. Arriving a little early and to kill some time, I stepped up to the window, ordered a smoothie, sat down, and for fun, tried to predict what he would be like. I conjured up a tall, semi-burly, bearded rogue-maybe a guy with a couple of tattoos and/or visible scars-definitely a character with some sort of hardened attitude. All I had to go on was that he was a haole surf photographer who had survived a lot of time on Kauai and had shot photos in the high stress zone…which might explain my harsh prognostication.
The only other information I had about Mark were his photographs. Once or twice a year his work would appear in Surfer, Surfing or Surfing Life…..Normally this wouldn’t have attracted my interest in the slightest, but these weren’t your run-o’-the-mill surf photos. These were big, mean water shots and empty, alluring wavescapes, the kind of images that force photographers to tilt their heads sideways to read photo credits and mutter to themselves, “where’d this guy come from”?
I gave Mark a call and it turns out that he’d be visiting relatives on Oahu during the same time frame that I’d be there. He’d like to meet me to feel more secure about sending more of his “gems” to The Journal. So I’m sitting there trying to guess which one of the rough looking dudes out in the parking lot is Mark, when the slender, clean-cut guy next to me leans over and ever so cordially says, “Excuse me, are you Rob?” Oops. Let this be a lesson: never judge a man by his photos”.
Rob Gilley, The Surfer’s Journal