Journalist and photographer Lacey Johnson investigates the world of modern Witchcraft for the first issue of DECADES. But aside from her DECADES feature on a 16-year-old Witch in Connecticut, Lacey is known for being a standout photographer. I had the good fortune of attending Columbia J-School with Lacey. She was in my Reporting & Writing 1 class, so we will forever have that RW1 bond. She once brought a log of cookie dough to my apartment when I was having stomach cramps. After baking, we dunked them in almond milk then watched a documentary on Jonestown. We followed this by watching a show on VICE about Issei Sagawa, a man in Japan who cut up his roommate before eating her. Lacey currently resides in Washington D.C. where she continues to report, write, photograph and grow weary from the endless talk of politics.
Interview with Lacey Johnson, by Chloe Schildhause
Decades Magazine: What’s your religion and do you like it?
Lacey Johnson: I went to a southern Baptist church in West Virginia growing up, but I don’t actively practice any one religion right now. I have a few beliefs I try to follow though - such as the golden rule and not being an asshole.
DM: Did you grow up watching TV shows like Bewitched, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch ormovies like Teen Witch and The Witches?
LJ: I did occasionally watch Bewitched and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. These shows are fun, but most of them have little to do with the reality of the religion. I’ve been told that the WB series Charmed is one of the most accurate shows as far as how the rituals work, though I haven’t personally watched it.
The main difference, of course, is that magic doesn’t spontaneously happen. It’s like most religions, where you pray for something, and maybe it will come true and maybe it won’t. Except Witch “prayers” are much more interesting than sitting in a church pew.
DM: You grew up in West Virginia. How has that inspired or shaped you as a writer and photographer?
LJ: As a child, all I could think about was getting out. I wanted to meet interesting people, and travel to foreign countries, and see amazing things - not just the same bunch of trees and small-town people at the Wal-Mart. As time went on and I traveled and got my education, I started to see my homestate in a different way. There is a lot of unique culture and history in Appalachia that I hadn’t appreciated before. Next, I would like to do a significant piece of writing related to the coal industry there.
DM: What do you eat for breakfast?
LJ: Lately, I’ve been drinking a Mason jar full of homemade bubble tea for breakfast.
Below, photos by Lacey Johnson