About the Photographer


Karl Johnston

A shot of me on location photographing an adventure model. Photo by Thomas Koidhis.


I am a Canadian adventure/assignment photographer & travel writer from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. I have sold prints to hundreds of people following my experiences and imagery growing up in the NT, where I have lived for over 20 years. During 2009 I became internationally known as the first Canadian to be exhibited at the Astronomy Photographer of the year competition in London, United Kingdom, at the Royal Observatory of Greenwich. During the same year the NNSL published an article calling me "King of the Aurora." This was followed by Photo world Magazine published an interview with me in Beijing, China, with the same headline. Later on during the year I was brought on with F-Stop Gear adventure bags in St. Louis as a sponsored staff photographer, for a year, under their brigade team by legendary Adventure/Humanitarian photographer Colby Brown. During 2011 I was exhibited in Sydney, Australia, as one of the finalists (4th place, silver award) of the Epson International Pano Awards. My panorama, Synapse, became a 8x4' mural on a building in my hometown of Fort Smith. One of my favorite landscape photographers, world renown legend photographer Peter Lik, was also exhibited at the same exhibition.

In 2012 I took a break from photographer to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Marketing at the University of Lethbridge, following a year and a half at the Business Administration program at Aurora College, in Fort Smith. They purchased a limited edition set of 3 prints to fill their Thebacha Campus hallways with. It was in the same year I became Canadian Features Editor & Contributing writer for Let's Be Wild Magazine, which published a couple of articles I did to promote Park's Canada's Wood Buffalo National Park.

In 2013 I started doing model photography and was published on Model Society's (http://modelsociety.com/Photographer/Karl-Johnston) homepage for my work of "Adventure Model:" depicting an aboriginal model under the Northern Lights, live on location, against the backdrop of the Slave River and aurora-filled night sky. I was published on It's Just Light Magazine with a detailed walk through of how this shot was achieved with off camera on location lighting.. something that I hadn't seen anyone else attempt before. In mid 2014 I began working on my first photography book - Pursuit of Dreams. Click the "Book" link, in the menu, for more information.

My goal is to tell our Northern story, raise awareness about our unique northern issues, celebrate our identity and share my stories and experiences living, traveling, and growing in the Canadian North.

Published Worldwide

  • The Slave River Journal
  • The Northern Journal
  • The Yellowknifer
  • The News North
  • Photoworld Magazine
  • More of Our Canada Magazine
  • Australian Geographic
  • The Guardian UK
  • Sky News
  • Travel Longer Magazine
  • Telegraph UK
  • The Daily Mail
  • Up Here Business Magazine,
  • CBC Radio (several times)
  • CKLB Radio (several times)
  • The Road Less Traveled Radio
  • Action Canada (Appeared on CBC News & Used in the Legislative Assembly)
  • ...and more

Internationally awarded

Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition, 2009, highly commended
Royal Observatory of Greenwich 2009, 4 month exhibit
Astronomy Photographer of the Year Competition, 2011, shortlisted
Epson International Pano Awards 2011, silver award,
Epson International Pano Awards 2011, silver award,
Epson International Pano Awards 2013, bronze award,
Epson International Pano Awards 2013, bronze award
Move NWT - highly commended

Exhibited Worldwide

Royal Observatory of Greenwich (London, England Sept 2009-Jan 2010)
/> Snow King's Ice Castle (www.snowking.ca) (Yellowknife, NT) (2010)
Canada's Northern House (Vancouver Olympics) (Feb-April 2010)
Hay River Arts & Music Festival (Hay River, NT) (2010)
Northern Life Museum (Fort Smith, NT) (July 2010, March 2011)
Epson Pano Awards Exhibition (Sydney, Australia) (June 2011)
Hay Days Arts Festival (Hay River, NT, (2011)
Hay Days Arts Festival (Hay River, NT, (2012)
Northern Life Museum (Fort Smith, NT) (August 2012)
Fort Smith Trade show (Fort Smith, NT) (2013)
Gallery on 47th Street (Yellowknife, NT) (May 2014)

Public Art & Murals

Aven Manor (Yellowknife, NT) (2009)
Aurora College - Corporate HQ Hallways– (Fort Smith, NT) (2010)
Murals Outside Office of Western Arctic Member of Parliament Dennis Bevington (Fort Smith, NT) (2011)

Articles & Interviews

"Photographers On Their Way Up" (www.Lightstalkers.com)
"Aurora Photographer On The Rise" (YKOnline.ca)
"THE CREAM OF LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHERS" (www.naturephotographie.com)

Northern Lights in the Northwest Territories
Slave River Rapids
Aurora Borealis Northwest over River
Yellowknife Aurora Borealis
Coral Falls Dehcho Region
Rapids of the Drowned, Fort Smith
Light Pillars Fort Smith
North American White Pelicans
Aurora Borealis over Slave River

Black Bears in Wood Buffalo National Park
Wood Buffalo National Park By Helicopter (Parks Canada)
Slave River Rapids Pelican Exploration (Parks Canada)
Off-road Adventure Gone Wrong
Portrait Photography Under Aurora Borealis