• Alexandrea Johnson

How did I get here and where am I going?

Thank you for taking the time from your busy lives to pause and see what this new thing that I am trying on, ah hem, blogging, is all about. After recent work and stories being removed from certain social media pages due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, I decided to start sharing my work & stories in a space where the images are protected from both bots and the whims of serial photo flaggers. But before we dive down this rabbit hole of love-filled work and stories that will make you want to reach out to your fellow human, I would like to introduce myself and tell you how I got here. So, here we go:

The Past

I started Phoenix Day Photography just over 10 years ago after I becoming a mom. With a background in psychology and film photography coupled with a love for the arts, it just felt natural. Being a SAHM with a husband in the military and working to finish my counseling degree, photography actually fit into my schedule quite perfectly. After finishing my schooling and landing what I thought would be my dream job, I realized I was doing it all wrong. I was doing ME all wrong. Let me go a bit further back.....

I had a beautiful childhood full of adventure, love and challenge, but I was always fascinated by those whom I met who were different than myself. Languages, body types, art, music, culture, religion, activism, foods....

Instead of pursuing the arts and finding a way to share all of the magnificent stories that I saw through the eyes of all of the amazing people I met, I followed the textbook high school counselor advice to go to college, get a Master's degree, and work a typical 9-5. While I'm sure it was sound advice and it did give me great tools in executing this new project, the cubicle wasn't for me.

The Present

My wonderful and supportive baby daddy, Daniel, (you will hear more about this hot piece as we go on) suggested I do something about my feeling a need to combine my interests and education. Here enters...."Love, Ali", my way of empowering people through portraiture, giving them a platform to tell their stories, and creating something bigger than myself. So, after reading 80% of 5 different self help books, watching endless Ted Talks on neuro-activity and fear, completing multiple classes by photographers I admire, such as Sue Bryce, Annie Lebowitz, Twya Jones and signing up for many future workshops with different boudoir photographers from the Do More network. After all of that, I am ready to say that I am still scared. I am still broke. I am still self-conscious.....but I am going to "give myself permission" (my new favorite phrase) to "sit in those feelings" as Sue Bryce suggested on her education page, feel them, acknowledge why I am uncomfortable in those feelings and then move forward.

Thanks to the last minute invite of a friend and fellow photographer last month, I attended Imaging USA in Atlanta. I had the pleasure of sitting through classes by the talented speakers and educators Michael Barber, Sasha & Yaneck Wasniek, Scott Stratten, Pye Jirsa, Steve Saporito, Marissa Boucher of Boudoir Divas, Corey Potter of Fuel Your Photos and the Fear Boss herself, Judi Holler. These people not only taught me things, but they also said what I needed to hear. They shared their stories and plans that sang to my ears, so I felt safe enough to give myself permission to be brave and take the leap for the things that I want.

The Future

I want to create.

I want to share stories.

I want to unite those who feel alone.

I want to make people feel strong.

I want people to know they are seen and heard, if that is what their hearts call for.

I will do these things.

Finally, I need to be able to take care of my family. I have 4 beautiful children and a husband of 11 years. Our oldest monkey is 10 and youngest is almost 4 years old. I want to create something for them, whether it be a business I can pass down, opportunities to travel so they can see the world, or stable income so days won't have to be spent indoors because "things are tight this month". I am now ready to take these next steps. I have nothing to lose that can't be recovered and everything to gain if I just go after it.

I'm looking forward to all that is in store now that I have given myself permission to try something new. I look forward to sharing the journey and what I learn along the way with you all




Feel free to check out the work of those who really left an impact on me this past month at Imaging USA:









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