Remembering Heidi Johnson

Posted by on Aug 08 2008 | Building 50: Northern Michigan State Hospital, TC Journal Summer 2008


Remembering Heidi Johnson, originally uploaded by mstephens7.

I am saddened to read of Heidi’s passing this morning. The community has lost a true artist. 

I knew her first by her photos of Building 50. We met years ago when she was setting up a showing at Borders in TC. We met again a year later at Building 50. She escorted us on a brief photo tour of the basements and upper floors of the building. Over the next couple of years, I enjoyed meeting up with her and chatting about Building 50, etc.

I am glad to have taken a photo of her on one of the tours, capturing the “Angels in the Architecture” she so loved:

And she snapped this of me on that first tour:

My condolences go out to her family and friends. I will treasure the digital photos I have, her book and the memories she captured in her work.


6 comments for now

6 Responses to “Remembering Heidi Johnson”

  1. Suzanne Kramer

    My home walls are filled with the genius of Heidi.
    My heart is absolutely despondent at her loss.
    What a genius!

    14 Aug 2008 at 9:00 am

  2. Suzanne Kramer

    My home walls are filled with the genius of Heidi.
    My heart is absolutely despondent at her loss.
    What an amazing talent!
    What depth!
    I will miss her laugh and her ability to say everything
    deep in black and white.

    14 Aug 2008 at 9:02 am

  3. Photos of my daughter that I have not seen before. Thank you so much for the documentation. Even as a child Heidi was very sensitive about nature…also, as a young child, I knew she was destined to become a photographer when I build and installed a vertical three tiered bird feeder
    outside our living room window. Heidi would take 30 to 40
    photos of birds feeding on the platform…..completely fascinated with the activity. When I came to Michigan for
    Heidi’s funeral, I was given the task to sort through her
    photos for her visitation display. I might add, she must have over 10,000 photos plus in various boxes, etc. Each
    print I would select, a flood of memories plus my tears would flow; she was so Photogenic!!!!! Her legacy will be her book….I’m so proud of her. To lose my precious child
    to severe mental depression at various stages of her life
    is difficult comprehend. In summary, Heidi’s resting in peace. When I had to visit Heidi’s apartment to pick her things, I found a book near her computer, entitled “Reaching To Heaven” by James Van Praagh.

    17 Aug 2008 at 12:37 pm

  4. Rick

    I am sad that you felt so alone. When I told you how afraid I was to be alone, to die alone, you held my hand and told me that I wasn’t the kind of person who would be alone, that I would never be without friends around me. I am so very sad that I couldn’t help you feel the same.

    You are missed.

    27 Aug 2008 at 3:23 am

  5. As I sit now in my studio in Savannah, GA., I remember Heidi very well from the days she spent, renting a room in my house in Interlochen. We didn’t always see eye-to-eye and I did not get to see her much on my travels back to Michigan, but I wish I would have gotten to say “Hello,” and “Goodbye” one last time. Naturally it was a shock when I heard the news about Heidi’s passing when I was visiting friends in mid August this summer. Since then I think about Heidi almost every day, even thought we haven’t been close for years. As has been written, Heidi had a gentle spirit with a great laugh and a wonderful photographic sensibility. Her photographs are pure poetry and I am pleased to read that so many people enjoy her work and are moved by it.

    13 Sep 2008 at 4:42 pm

  6. Mike Farnam

    I am very sorry to hear the loss of MS Johnson. Although we we never met in person, we have had some long conversations showing her interest about my expience as a patient at Traverse City State Hospital in 1962. We did talk about meeting in person but nothing had was set.
    From those conversations I could tell that Heidi was a very sweet and warm hearted person.
    I wil miss that. But I have save all of he emails
    My God be with her.

    24 Sep 2008 at 9:10 pm