Chris Johnston Photography

20 Questions about Chris Johnston

I've fallen in love with the work of Lisa Holloway. When this happens (it happens often) I become obsessed and I search for all the information I can find about that person and their work. I found an interview with Ms. Holloway and I liked the format so I decided to adopt it and answer 20 questions about myself.

Favorite Color: blue

Favorite Season: winter

Biggest Guilty Pleasure: Bacon and eggs for breakfast

The American Alligator (Alligator mississipiensis)

Pet Peeve: People who turn on their turn signal as they are turning the wheel to turn. 

Studio or On location: On location.

What did you want to be when you grew up? A veterinarian, wildlife biologist, or geologist. I’d still love to be an wildlife biologist or geologist. (Ms. Holloway and I both wanted to be veterinarians when we grew up)

The New Orleans Crescent City Connection

One thing no one knows about you is: I once rode a bull in a rodeo when I was in my early 20's.

Pc or Mac: Mac

Lightroom Or Photoshop: BOTH.

White Pelicans in the Louisiana Marsh

Film or Digital: Digital.

Props or No Props: No props.

If you could travel anywhere it would be: Denali National Park in Alaska.

Glass Half Empty or Half Full:  Sadly, half empty.  I’m trying to be more optimistic.

Raw or Jpeg: Raw.

Favorite Music to Edit to: I'm not a big fan of listening to music while I edit but classical relaxes me. 

Frozen Cypress leaves on a rare freezing morning in South Louisiana

Favorite Quote: “Having ADD makes life paradoxical. You can superfocus sometimes, but also space out when you least mean to. You can radiate confidence and also feel as insecure as a cat in a kennel. You can perform at the highest level, feeling incompetent as you do so. You can be loved by many, but feel as if no one really likes you. You can absolutely, totally intend to do something, then forget to do it. You can have the greatest ideas in the world, but feel as if you can't accomplish a thing." -Dr. Edward M. Hallowell

Most valued material possession: My camera gear.

Processing Style: I like deep blacks and a heavy vignette.

Coffee or Tea: Coffee.

If you could photograph a Celebrity who would it be? Mykel Hawke. I know he used to live in NOLA but if anybody has a connection I'd appreciate a hookup. 

Put some time between taking a picture and sharing it

One of the things that has occurred because of social media is the overwhelming urge to share all of our images. This is a totally new phenomenon.

If you think back to the days of film, we would take a roll of film, send it off, and then in a few days we got back physical object. There was a sense of anticipation. You had a sense of wonder in what was going to appear in that little package and when it did, you look at each picture and examined it and recalled the emotion at the time when it was taken. When you were done the pictures were put away. Maybe in a shoebox, maybe in album, or maybe in a file cabinet.

When we decided to show those pictures to someone it was special. Maybe a vacation image slideshow at a family gathering, maybe in a quiet moment a mother and father would look at pictures of their kids, or after the funeral of a loved one we would sit and look at pictures we captured of that person throughout their life. 

The decision to share was one that was considered and appropriate for the moment. I think in the world today we want to share everything and worry about how many likes or hearts or comments it might get and we make the decision on whether or not to take it based on that metric. The timeframe between capture and share is too short. 

Not every picture needs to be shared. Not every photo is taken for public consumption. Some pictures exist because they will mean something years from now. Some will never mean anything to us but they will mean much to others after we are gone. Stop taking photos for the purpose of sharing and take them for the purpose of remembering. Share some, but some away in a special place just for you. 

We Are Not Guaranteed Tomorrow

One regret I have is not asking Guy and his wife to schedule a photoshoot before he passed. Guy was good friend of my in-laws and we saw him often, but this is the only photo I have of him.

One regret I have is not asking Guy and his wife to schedule a photoshoot before he passed. Guy was good friend of my in-laws and we saw him often, but this is the only photo I have of him.

When I ask people to take a photo they will say we are too busy, or we don't any free time, or when I lose 10 pounds. They tell me they don't like being in front of the camera or they don't have anything to wear. 

We are not guaranteed tomorrow. On a seemingly normal September morning in 2001 over 2,000 mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters thought they were going to work at the World Trade Center but never returned. Three thousand people today will get a phone call telling them that the test was positive and they have cancer. 

Look I realize a photo can't bring someone back, but it can help you remember them after they are gone. A mother can leave an image of herself as she wants to be remembered by her kids. Grown siblings that maybe don't spend that much time together or with their parents can have a large image made, maybe 40 x 60, and give it to their parents to hang above the fireplace or in the great room so every day their parents can see their creation, their gift from God, as they enter that room.   

Call me today at 504-208-1766 to book a family, couple, or sibling session. 

How Family Changes You

It's amazing how goals and desires change over the years. When I was 16, I had the good fortune to wander into the Louisiana Nature and Science Center in eastern New Orleans. I went in to volunteer to be part of their version of Space Camp. While there I met an amazing lady who ran the wildlife rehab center and ended up spending all my time volunteering there. 

That exposure created an interest and love for the natural world that never ended. Over the next few years I'd spend tens of thousands of hours in the woods chasing wildlife. I'd travel to Glacier National Park and Banff looking for elk, deer, and bears. I would catch alligators from the back of flatboats and study to be a falconer

When I eventually decided to take up photography my goal was to photograph wildlife. I wanted to climb in the water with alligators and track mountain lions through the Sierra Nevada mountain range and publish those adventures on the pages of National Geographic. The problem was I had kids, a job, and responsibilities that competed with those interest. 

I started photographing what was around me, and this business sprung from that. I captured the little slices of family life that I was experiencing with my kids on a daily basis. It's an adventure no less interesting than tracking mountain lions, albeit it slightly less exciting and far less dangerous.

Here is an interesting collection of images I've captured during that journey.

Spend Time With Those Who Are Important

My son excited because we are about to get some snowballs at the historic Hansen's Sno-Bliz on  Tchoupitoulas.

My son excited because we are about to get some snowballs at the historic Hansen's Sno-Bliz on Tchoupitoulas.

Last night I went out with my daughter for about 2 hours and played Pokémon GO. I could have looked at yet another photography blog, or watched more YouTube videos on Lightroom editing techniques, but instead I chose to spend time with those who are most important to me.

During my Bible reading time this morning I read a passage from Luke 12:

 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Stop spending time and money on things that don't matter. Will a bigger house make you happy if you have to spend so much time working to pay for it that you never see it and don't spend time with your family. Stop climbing the career ladder and take a vacation with your family and climb the trails in Rocky Mountain National Park. Stop working weekends and work on building a relationship with your kids, even if it means chasing Pokémon with daughter.