Whitney Johnson is the vice president of visuals and immersive experiences at National Geographic Partners. She leads the visual and immersive staffs, overseeing photography, video, Instagram and podcast teams. She joined National Geographic in 2015 as the deputy director of photography for the magazine.
From 2007 to 2015, Johnson was on the staff of The New Yorker, first as a picture editor and later as the director of photography. There, she championed photojournalism and transformed visuals into contemporary media, establishing Photo Booth, The New Yorker’s site for writing about photography; launching the @newyorkerphoto Instagram feed; and serving as the executive producer of short films. Prior to joining the magazine, Johnson worked at the Open Society Foundations, where she was a founding member of the Documentary Photography Project and managed an international grant competition and exhibition for documentary photographers.
Her work has earned numerous awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors, the Society of Publication Designers and the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webbys). In 2011, Johnson — together with The New Yorker staff photographer Platon and Human Rights Watch — received a Peabody. In 2018, Pictures of the Year International honored National Geographic photo staff with the Angus McDougall Overall Excellence in Editing Award and recognized Johnson with an Award of Excellence in the Magazine Visual Editor of the Year category. In 2019, National Geographic was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography.Johnson has juried numerous international grant competitions, including the Alexia Foundation grants, Getty Grants for Editorial Photography, Tim Hetherington Grant and FOAM[MB1] Paul Huf Award. She has been an adjunct professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism, New York University Tisch School of the Arts and International Center of Photography, and she currently sits on the Photojournalism Advisory Council for the Alexia Foundation.
Johnson received her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College and continued with graduate work in American studies at Columbia University.