After graduating from Carlisle Art School, Steve Johnston began to make a living by photographing musicians, including those associated with the punk movement. He began working for Vogue in 1977 and published his first book of punk photography in 1978. In 1980, he moved to the newly launched i-D magazine. In 1991, after many successful years in photography, Johnston returned to painting. His creations often use horizontal line to allude to his local environment.