The Johnsons

“The Johnsons’ work spreads the idea that our generation has no right to destroy what future generations may enjoy.”

(F. Osborn, president of American Museum of Natural History)


Who were Martin and Osa Johnson?

Martin Johnson(1884-1937) and Osa Johnson (1894-1953) were American filmmakers, photographers, writers, travelers and adventurers whose films and books were admired by Charlie Chaplin, Jack London or the British Royal family – the Queen mother and king George.


  • They spent 27 years capturing by filming in Africa, Borneo and Melanesia
  • They made 18 feature films, took 10 000 photographs and wrote 20 books
  • They learned to pilot planes in which they flew more than 60 000 miles over Africa and Borneo
  • They criticized over-hunting in Africa and invented the phenomena of photo-safari
  • They cooperated with pioneer environmentalists like Carl Akeley and with the American Museum of Natural History in New York
  • They influenced many famous people like George and Joy Adamson, Bob Ballard, the discoverer of the Titanic, and   Robert Flaherty, the “father of documentary”


What they are unique for?

  • They made the first aerial motion pictures of the vanishing wildlife, including enormous elephant herds, and   vast snowcaps of Kilimanjaro and Mt. Kenya
  • They made the very first sound-movie in Africa
  • Osa Johnson is the author of the very first wildlife TV-series called “Osa Johnson’s Big Game Hunt”, which was the forerunner of today’s wildlife series of Animal Planet or of National Geographic
  • Made the first pictures of mountain gorillas in the wild
  • They were the first who showed that gorillas are not bloodthirsty creatures but intelligent and peaceful
  • Were the first who captured the Grevy zebra training