I Love You Real Fast

For every two young Swazi women, one of them is HIV positive.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Krisanne Johnson


Coming soon: Krisanne Johnson discusses her work with Sean Jacobs & Brett Davidson.


October 25, 2011

Krisanne Johnson

Time LightBox

Krisanne Johnson features in the Time LightBox

After Johnson received the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, TIme LightBox displayed a feature on her “I Love You Real Fast” project.  Krisanne Johnson first began documenting the Umhlanga dance, an 8 day ceremony where young female virgins cross the country to visit and honor the Queen Mother. Swaziland reports the highest percentage of HIV positive people in the world, with young women being the hardest hit.  For every two Swazi girls, one is infected.  

Over the past five years, the progression of this work has moved from traditional rites of passage to modern youth culture to an intimate look inside the homes of HIV-positive women. My insights have matured along with these young women. It has allowed me to witness fast-tracked intimacy and friends lost and gained. It has made me see that girls here are constantly on the verge––of giving birth to burying best friends, of finding love to fighting for life alone, stigmatized and heartbroken.

Read Krisanne’s writing on her project and view slides from “I Love You Real Fast” on Time LightBox.

October 20, 2011

Krisanne Johnson

W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography

Krisanne Johnson received $30,000 from the W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography. EF 2010 Photographer Krisanne Johnson, 36, received the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Grant Wednesday night.  In 2006,  Johnson began photographing coming of age women in Swaziland where one in every two young women are infected with HIV/AIDS.  She has made three trips, with the support of Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography, Magnum Foundation's Emergency Fund, and from a Kickstarter campaign. She will return to do a fourth and final chapter with her grant that examines the daily lives of women who seek employment. 

October 5, 2011

Krisanne Johnson

Half King Exhibition, I Love You Real Fast

Krisanne Johnson, 2010 EF photographer, and Susan Meiselas, Magnum Foundation president, participated in public discussion of Johnson’s long term project about Swazi youth, “I Love You Real Fast.”  The Half King bar and restaurant in Chelsea, NY hosted the slideshow and discussion.  The establishment will also be exhibiting Krisanne’s photographs through the end of November.  

The turnout was great, and thanks to everyone who came to support and learn about Krisanne’s project.  The conversation was recorded, and will be available through a podcast in the near future.  

September 29, 2011

Krisanne Johnson

TIME Magazine, Out of Step, His nation in crisis, a King indulges himself

Krisanne Johnson photographs from EF sponsored I Love You Real Fast, featured in the European edition of Time Magazine. 

The small African country Swaziland is home to one of the oldest monarchies in the world.  The article describes Swaziland’s annual Reed Dance, where tens of thousands of virgin girls trek across Swaziland to the Queen Mother’s royal residence.  During this event, King Mswati III will sometimes pick a new wife.  

For all the color of the ceremony, swati’s polygamy looks irresponsible next to what is today the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemic: infection among pregnant women is 41%, Swazi life expectancy is down to 43 years, and 31% of Swazi children are orphans. 

September 28, 2011

Krisanne Johnson

British Journal of Photography, Crowd-funding: With a little help from my friends

Krisanne Johnson, Emergency 2010 photographer, was featured in British Journal of Photography.

 I Love You Real Fast was a four year project started in 2006 by Krisanne Johnson.  One of the trips to Swaziland was funded by Magnum Foundation.  In an effort to help independent photographers find future funding, MF supported a Kickstarter to fundraise a follow-up trip. The British Journal of Photography writes about these new models of financing emerging for photographers such as Krisanne Johnson. 

This century, shrinking budgets and the advent of the 24-hour news cycle have forced the world of photography to change, and photographers have turned to other organisations to find the necessary funds to finance their projects.

September 7, 2011


Krisanne Johnson, Cedric Gerbehaye, and Larry Towell featured in DC NIGHT GALLERY

May 14, 2011

Slideluck Potshow

New York Photo Festival XVI

EF Photographers Bruce Gilden, Krisanne Johnson, Dominic Nahr were featured at Slideluck Potshow at St. Ann’s Warehouse. The slideshow was curated by Whitney Johnson, Director of Photography at the New Yorker and was centered around the “Upheaval” theme.
February 16, 2011

From "I Love You Real Fast"

Check out the new blog for Krisanne Johnson’s “I Love You Real Fast,” an Emergency Fund project. 

January 11, 2011
Crowd-funding: With a little help from my friends – British Journal of Photography
Crowd-funding: With a little help from my friends - British Journal of Photography
November 17, 2010
“I love You Real Fast” among Most Popular Projects on Kickstarter
"I love You Real Fast" among Most Popular Projects on Kickstarter
November 12, 2010
“I Love You Real Fast” featured on Kickstarter Blog
"I Love You Real Fast" featured on Kickstarter Blog


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