Posts by Joelynne Johnson

I hate goodbyes. Always have. Even if they’re positive I’m always That Person crying while you go to university, being a downer when you pack your desk to head to a better job, or snotting all over you while the movers check their watch for the fifth time. That’s why it’s with a heavy heart that I have to give up my spot here at O+U. Hopefully I’ll still see you around though! I’ll be the one drunk crying into my beer at the local dive bar. Look me up.😉





First off: Holy shit my front door needs a wash and some paint! I’d hate for you to see what it looks like inside. Which is why I didn’t invite you. So don’t ring my effing bell. You see, I’m firmly against The Pop In.

Did I call you? Did you call me? Did we say to each other “Let’s get together!” ? And did I say: “Yes! MY house! THIS time! I’ll even answer the door instead of pretending I forgot and hiding in the basement! I’ll be ready, and vacuum, and do my dishes, and stuff all my laundry and clutter into my bedroom and lock that door from the inside only to be reopened by a bobby pin later so you never know. Sure! Come over! By appointment only! Exact time!” ?

Did I say that stuff? Did I say it twice? Did I reconfirm by text or email the day before?


Fuck off then.

Because if none of that stuff happened I am not READY for you and I DON’T WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE IN MY HOME.

Let me tell you why:

1. I am exhausted. I have three kids and we do lots of stuff in the run of the day and chances are if you’re popping in you’re infringing on my coffee/tea (more likely wine/beer) drinking, bra free time. Go to Hell. My husband just got home from a 10 hour shift. He doesn’t want to see you either, wearing only his boxer briefs no less.

2. My house is a mess. See above re: three kids, one husband. It’s embarrassing to be caught unawares in my natural dishes piled, laundry strewn state. I need time to fake like I do stuff. STOP TRYING TO OUT MY BAD HOUSEWIFERY !!!!!!!!!!!

3. Chances are if you’re popping in you’ve got your kid with you. Which means this thing is going to turn into a play date and you’re going to WAY outstay your welcome. And I will learn to resent you for it and it will eat away at me while I vent about you on private facebook groups (fuck I still HATE that person guys!). Inconsiderate much? And chances are if you don’t have your kid with you you’re here for some adult time and I DON’T HAVE THAT TO GIVE. Unless your name is Scott and we’re getting R rated. Again, he doesn’t want you here either! And you’ll talk and talk and ignore my signals and go on and on and pour more coffee oblivious to the fact that my kids are going full Lord of the Flies in the background and bed time was AN HOUR AGO and now you’ve completely screwed me for tomorrow too but you won’t SHUT UP AND GIVE ME AN IN TO TELL YOU! (Fuck, you guys, I seriously still hate that person….)

4. Or maybe you’re a single guy friend of my husband’s  that mistakes me for your mother and figure I’ll feed you if you stick around long enough? FUCK OFF. I can’t cook. My children are feral and free range the garden out back. Now go home, look up feral on, and never come back, m’kay?

5. Or maybe you want to talk about how your God is better than my God? And give me some literature on that?  No, not going to your church that doesn’t recognize birthdays, I’m far too selfish and my God is fairly forgiving of that. So take ten steps back and forget you were here.

6. Or maybe you want me to switch political parties? Good luck with that! (Slams door in face)

7. Or maybe you want to sell me some shit for my life? Meet my large dog! And rabid cheap husband.

8. You want money for WHAT charity/ fundraiser!? Again, refer to three kids and cheap husband. I’m broke. Sorry about your diabetes though, truly. (Packs hand basket for Hell)***

I could go on and on, but let me just underline everything by saying that at the end of the day popping in on someone unannounced is just rude. It’s bad manners. Don’t go to someone’s house unannounced unless you found their baby in the street and want to return it. Even then, only before 8:00pm. Otherwise you’re imposing upon someone and that’s just not cool. Ask The Modern Manners Guy and note his use of the word “burden.”

Then after you’re done reading get the Hell away from my door.



***I will never ever say “no” to a fundraising child at my door. I’m not a total monster. Plus they’re not interested in staying, they just want to get that shit over with too.




Next week school begins for us, so it’s inevitable that my current obsession is the last moments of Summer. Sure it’s not technically over, and sure we can still go to the beach well into September, but once school starts it’s not the same.

Sunday evening the feeling was especially profound as we took the kids to an outdoor movie. As I walked to the truck I couldn’t believe Fall was already making such a presence.

And still more so when we huddled under blankets and waited for the movie to start. A movie outside is so much better. It’s too dark to see someone cut their eye at you because all the kids talk out loud.

And everyone held their kids a little closer, maybe because it was cold, or maybe because they’re like me and they don’t want to let them go next week.

The last of the Summer moments always make my chest a little tight. Next year this time they’ll be a year older. Next year this time they may not find as much joy in light up glasses.

It is my hope that I can go forward into Fall holding my children as close, weighing my moments as importantly, and loving my life as much as I do in these last moments of Summer.

~ Joelynne

We have our East Coast family with us this week. Before they left they asked if we wanted anything brought from home. We voted unanimously that the only thing we wanted was for our Gram to make her seafood chowder. There is no chowder like Eastern Canadian chowder. I don’t care WHAT you think about your own chowder, Gram’s chowder beats your chowder in a chowder fight ANY day. Now reread that entire paragraph pronouncing chowder like this.

She totally came through for us, arriving with a case of frozen fish and her serious chowder making face.

Chowder, pre- milk (look at all that fishy GOODNESS!!!!!):

Ready to (eat with a) roll:

My husband pre-chowder:

My husband post chowder:

The look on Gram’s face says what we’re all thinking.
Indeed, I am obsessed with chowder since leaving the East Coast. What’s your food obsession?

Yesterday I shared a photo with my O+U gals. “Damn it,” I lamented, “WHY can’t I get this awesomeness sooc from my dslr!?” After bitching and moaning and complaining and acting overall twatish, Erika finally offered: “Because they’re different.” Before you declare her Captain Obvious, stop a second. It’s the truth, film is completely different (Yes, I am now Co-Captain obvious) and you are either have an alter set up to it in your living room or you don’t.

Well, maybe only I do that. Case in point, meet my babies:

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Put the phone down, stop calling the producers from Hoarders, and give me a second. Erika is right (just this once, don’t go thinking I’m kissing your ass bitch) film is different, but not only are film cameras different from digital but each and every film camera is different from the next. The above image was shot with my F100 on Kodak Ektar 100. Had I shot it with a different camera or even a different film it would be completely unique to this. Shut up digital hoes. I hear you. All dslr cameras are different too. Sure, but while I find the difference with film cameras is a completely different signature, I find the difference in dslr tends to be a quality thing. C’mon, tell me, when was the last time you looked at a digital photo and yelled out “OH! That’s SO 5DMarkII !!!!!” I call bullshit on you.

I hoard cameras whose signature I have come to admire and I compile wish lists of those film cameras I still need to buy. I do this with the intesity of someone obsessed with a dying art. That little film stockpile in the slideshow? The only reason it’s so low is because I was cut off by my worried husband after a temporary fit of insanity in which I bought all the Kodak film in town upon hearing they were going bankrupt. It’s the black cloud that hangs over all film photographer’s heads. The cameras may go away, the film may stop being produced. At least it’s over my head, and the justification I use for seeking them out one by one before they go extinct.

If you haven’t tried some film lately, please do. For me. Yes I’m pushing my drugs on you. There is nothing like loading a new roll, each one a different experience altogether. There is nothing like the peace and thoughtfulness that goes into a shot you can’t immediately erase and do over if you don’t like it. There’s nothing like prints in hand, every time. So do yourself a favour and give it a try. If it turns out you don’t like it I know some idiot who will buy your camera off you.😉

And while you’re at it!!!!!

Two of our O+U contributors have been chosen as finalists in Vista Branding’s “What Is America?” contest! HOLY SHIT!!!! RIGHT!?? Show them some love and go vote for Laura and Kristin ! Then bookmark the pages and create several different Facebook profiles under funny names, continuing to vote while on the toilet, making supper, making supper on the toilet, waiting for that asshole to call you back, at the red lights, AT THE GREEN LIGHTS! Actually don’t, vote once, we don’t want them to get disqualified for running their show like mine.


Did you vote yet?

My name is Joelynne and I’m a sloppy shooter. I shoot crooked, I choose my settings poorly, I am the victim of motion blur more often than not. I am also a lover of film. All winter long I am so careful with my film shots. It takes me forever to finish a role. I don’t even bother in the low dreary light of Winter, knowing my sloppy shooter syndrome will leave me with a set of fuzzy prints.
I make up for it when Summer comes. Summer, with its generous light and abundant colour. Summer, in which even THIS careless gal can shoot ISO 100 (sort of). Summer is so forgiving to the film photographer, and when my kids grow up they’ll wonder whether they existed between October- May because having  film processed is the only time I ever buy prints.

Here is a glimpse of my Summer on film so far.

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What about you? Do you have a favorite film or camera that’s tagging along this Summer? I’d love to know!

This month I started a ten on ten project with a group of amazing ladies. The premise of the project is that on the tenth of every month we present ten images from a day in our lives. It seemed overwhelming at first, how was I going to get ten decent photos over the span of a day? I was so grateful once I started shooting that I began the project in the Summer. I woke up with my camera next to the bed as planned and immersed myself in moments that only Summer had to offer.

A sneaky four year old dashing by Mom’s door, up before everyone else.

A family trip to the beach.

Little people who need to be carried at the end of the day because they played so hard they can’t make it home.

Summer has so many amazing moments to offer I could barely narrow it down, in fact these are my out takes from my day. No doubt come January I’ll be doing ten shots of coffee cups. Until then I plan to enjoy Summer’s sweet subtleties. If, like me, you can’t get enough please click through the blogs participating in the ten on ten. There’s lots of faces you know from here at O+U: Tiffani, Carmen, Suzanne, Jill, Jessica, Erika, Laura, and myself.

Everyone loves the bright yellow of the canola fields that bring in Summer here in the prairies. For me though, it wasn’t an instant crush. Having moved here from the ocean I missed the cool breeze and felt totally overwhelmed by the endless open space of yellow that was my new home. Hot, mosquito bitten, tick and leech wary, and ocean lonely, I did my best in my first Summer to cover every inch of ground here looking for something to love.

I found it in the fields.

I found it in the hay bales.

I found it near the fences.

I found it chillin’ with the goofy dragonflies.

It wasn’t my first love, but it was beautiful and the more I opened my eyes to really see it the more I found to appreciate. In the end it was its uniqueness from the sandy beaches and endless blue that endeared it to me. Instead of wide open water I came to find a peace in wide open sky and a gladness that I could see two totally different types of Summer in my lifetime.

I hope to indulge my wanderlust as I age and see many other types of Summers. What’s the landscape of your Summer? Does it happen near a glowing lake or a hot sidewalk? Show me!

The other day our family had a Top Songs of the 90s show on in the background. My husband and I kept an ear open as they counted down to number one, laughing at songs we couldn’t believe we ever listened to, wondering if our favorites would make the list, all the time betting on number one. And when the song I had my money on came on, I ran in to the living room to watch the video for Smells Like Teen Spirit for what could be the hundredth time.

All three kids ran in after me. Feet lifted off the ground as everyone began to jump in unison. Hair flying, elbows up, swaying against each other in the low parts, jumping in a frenzy during the chorus, we formed a living room mosh pit. “JUMP OFF THE COFFEE TABLE AND WE’LL CATCH YOU!!!!” someone yelled.

Yeah, it was me.

A lot of people I know can’t fathom why I encourage moshing in the living room to the music of a man that lived and died in a way that didn’t go with what society deems acceptable. Why I gleefully shaved my son’s hair into a mohawk when he asked, getting up twenty minutes early every morning to arrange it into rock hard spikes and then gel dye it colours.

Why do I let them all listen to something other than Raffi?! Isn’t this what you’re supposed to AVOID!? I don’t believe so, and even if I did I don’t think I could push them the other way if I tried. I have a theory that music permeates every aspect of your life, from your style to your friends, and you pass it on to your kids.

I have already talked about my Mom and her “I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” musical preferences. It was my Dad though that gave me my taste in music. He would rock me every night and I can remember him pressing my head to his chest and singing “Jesus Loves Me” in the lowest  tone ever. Then when he ran out of lullabys I would get the goods: “Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring. ”  And in the daytime I’d ride sidecar on his tractor and get my personal favorite: “Pretty paper, pretty ribbons of blue….”  In fact one of my fondest childhood memories is of the time my parents took me to see Willie in concert. I was four. I passed out. It was the BEST.

As I got older music stayed important to me. I went through the same boy band phase as everyone else but it was in the 90s where I would find my way through the music of Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins. Growing up in this era saved my life, surrounded by a movement that said it was okay to be different (shut up hippies, I know you did it first). Wrapped in plaid flannel I’d toss on my Dad’s old pants with a pair of Docs and head in to town to smoke stolen cigarettes and talk about music with friends. It was everything we were and you could easily tell who listened to what based on how they dressed. But no matter if you were punk or grunge we all lined up every weekend to sit inside an abandoned store a friend had inherited from his Dad and re-purposed to host shows. Pressed together in a mosh pit, or huddled on the floor smoking, it was safe and we were happy.

It secretly thrills me that my sons have inherited my music identity (my daughter on the other hand likes Rob Zombie and Metallica…. side eye to my husband). I love to plug them in to ear phones at night to listen to their favorite Johnny Cash , I love impromptu mosh pits and the songs they accept as their personal lullabys or silly songs. I love that they stomp around in my Docs, wear Chucks because they want to, and have the confidence to wear their hair spiked and dyed and however the hell they want, really. But most of all I know  that no matter what they choose (yes, even a starched collar) I can trust them to be who they want, and listen to what they want, know music is important, and invest in good quality headphones rather then have me ask them to turn it down. And when a friend shows up to the door with a face full of metal and freshly bleached hair I won’t shut down their plans to go to a show and automatically assume they’re up to no good because I can’t discern lyrics and it all sounds like screeching!? (“Are those people in PAIN!?” ~ My Dad in the 90s.)
And yeah, when the time comes I’ll totally lend them my pants. Just PLEASE don’t effing wear them backwards.



I often take photos with my earphones in my ears. If my image is a story I want to tell, my ipod has the soundtrack to that story. Right now on repeat is Bon Iver’s Holocene, and it has been for months. It held for me the melancholy feeling of the last days of Winter and now the sweet sound of a child’s summer moments: make believe, flashlights in tents, sweeping landscapes to run through. If you don’t understand, you really need to watch the video and get inspired. The images, the subject, the lyrics, the sound, it never fails to make me grab my camera or daydream about images I want to make.

And while we’re at it let’s watch the video for Towers. It will get us thinking about the woods, interesting caps, the romantic feeling of old trucks, driving fast down lake roads so the woods blur into the water when you look out the window, and then it ends with a total stretch of your imagination.

Of course it’s easy to let a song inspire you visually when the accompanying video is so beautifully done. Let’s listen to this one on it’s own. Can you see a story forming in your mind? How about when you listen to this?

Then there are other songs that I don’t have to stretch my imagination at all for. The Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror” should be sung by every photographer before they even  touch their camera.

I’ll be your mirror
Reflect what you are, in case you don’t know
I’ll be the wind, the rain and the sunset
The light on your door to show that you’re home

When you think the night has seen your mind
That inside you’re twisted and unkind
Let me stand to show that you are blind
Please put down your hands
‘Cause I see you

I find it hard to believe you don’t know
The beauty that you are
But if you don’t let me be your eyes
A hand in your darkness, so you won’t be afraid

And when I photograph my family it’s been this one lyric that has driven me for a long time now, always in my mind as I see them through my lens:

Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing
Like the love that let us share our name.

Share with me the soundtrack to your story. I can’t wait to hear what you see.