Shannon Johnstone was born in Milwaukee, WI. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and MFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology. She is the recipient of numerous awards including "Pause, To Begin" artist, Critical Mass Top 50 (2009, 2010), and Honorable Mention in Lens Culture’s 2010 International Exposure Awards, and 2014 Review Santa Fe 100.
Johnstone’s photographic work deals with themes that reclaim what has been discarded and make visible that which is hidden. Her artwork has been exhibited in solo shows in Chicago, Rochester, Raleigh, and Durham. She has been included in group shows throughout the United States, as well as internationally in Germany, France, and Taiwan.
Her most recent project "Landfill Dogs" was a 2013 and 2015 Critical Mass Finalist, and "Best in Show" winner at "Puppy Love 2014". In 2014, she was awarded with “2014 Board of Commissioners Volunteer Service Award” from the Wake County Board of Commissioners in Raleigh, NC for her work with “Landfill Dogs” and the Wake County Animal Center.
"Landfill Dogs" has been featured in national and international exhibitions and magazines, and was most notably on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer (December 2013), and CNN.com (November 2014). Her first book, Landfill Dogs, came out in November 2015. Johnstone is a tenured associate professor at Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. She lives in Cary, NC with her husband, three dogs, and two cats.