Tag Archives: Jamie Johansen

Beginning 4th Year

1 Sep

The first day of 4th year is a few hours away now.

I don’t know why but I’ve never been so anxious for a school year to start. I think it boils down to the fact that I’ll have been at this for 5 years, a nice little bubble to return to and in 8 months I’ll be out of it for a long time. I don’t think I’ll be going back to school for a while after this one, if ever.

I think it’s also that fear of growing up a little bit more. I won’t be able to “play” as much as I’d like with student loans looming, looking for a place once I get some money saved in a little while. Money is a very scary topic. It would be nice to just get some sort of deal and make loads of it so there really isn’t that worry, but, well, that probably isn’t going to happen either.

I’m also worried as I have no idea what sort of assignments I’ll be getting this year. Not that I had any other year but this is the year to really figure out where I’m going with my work, if I can do something with it. Sell it, put it in magazines, galleries…

Do people really want pictures of old farm buildings?


There are a lot of questions buzzing in my head, I hope most of them are resolved as I think being an artist we have a lot of questions that might be bubbling about but are answered along the way.

One good thing about this year is I think for the first time (and not to slag off the rest of my instructors) the teachers I’m having this year feel more dedicated, either that or they are just teaching 4th years, they are professionals in the field so they know what’s going on. All my instructors are, but I feel some of them are kind of happy in the security of the school. Others have active studios and practices with clients coming and going all the time. We finally have a business class. Why it’s left until 4th year I don’t know, as I think it’s so important. Most photographers you talk to say the business is business. Selling your work, making a name for yourself and knowing how to get that name out there to clients who want your stuff.

I think once things start up, once a bit of a creative flow starts coming back and once assignments start things will get better. Keeping busy is the main thing.


Home boy

13 Jan

You know that warm fuzzy feeling of AWESOME when you find out someone you admire is from your home province? I got that feeling today.

I suppose I could have found this out a long time ago, but for whatever reason I never checked out his “about” section on his website. Why that is, I have no idea, I’m usually really good about that kind of thing.

The thing that brought my attention to Ed was his alarm clock design “Wake Up!” You might recognize it as I embroidered it straight after seeing it. It had to be done!

The guy I’m talking about is Ed Nacional. He’s a graphic designer who’s done some things withFriends of Type. Ed was born and raised in Calgary, the city I’m in right now for school. One of his recent tweets said he was in Edmonton, my home city, which in itself was pretty cool, but knowing he is really truly from around here made it even more cool.



Twitter Break

10 Jan

As much as I love Twitter, a recent comment on my Flickr photostream made me think that I might implement a little change.

A while ago, before being on Twitter, I would write little thoughts of things I saw during my day on post-it notes. I really did quite enjoy it, people liked it which was a bonus, and I want to get back into that. So, I think for the remaining days of January, I’m going to try really hard to write down my little thoughts rather than Tweet them and then post them on my Flickr.

I’ll still use Twitter for some updates I guess, and when I post a blog here as it does that automatically.


19 Dec

I was going through PostSecret’s updates last week (December 12th) When I came across this one:

It kind of hit home with me. To clear things up, my father, Jim, died 8 months before I was born from Leukemia. Not many people know this, but it’s something I’m thinking about more and more recently and I think it’s fair to share with those who read… my mom and my nan, haha.

In a selfish way I wish I got a letter too, though I never thought about it before seeing this secret and from what I hear… I’m not fully sure he was capable of writing a letter when it got to a certain point. When I look through his things, or when I visit his grave, I can’t help but feel a bit awkward, and a little nervous knowing I know very little about Jim. Who he was, what he liked apart from skidoo-ing, hunting and being a pretty typical Newfoundland guy. I really only know that he and my mom met at Memorial University, which is out in Newfoundland. I am told sometimes that I remind people of him, I know he wanted to study at Concordia University to become a pharmacist, and I think he failed calculus a few times. I jokingly blame him for my lacking with math.

As much as I want to know about him, I know it’s still hard for my mom and my Nan to talk about it, as I can fully understand because they lost a son, a husband and a father. Not even a year married and my mom was 23 at the time and of course a mother never wants to bury their child or see them go through such a thing. So even though it’s 25 years later, it’s still pretty hard. I choke up sometimes thinking about it, even though I have no emotional grief about the situation or the physical loss, I still lost something that day and just the thought of my mom and nan and the rest of the family at the time going through something that hard is tough to think about.

I also find it really awkward with my dad, step-dad officially, he came in when I was 2 and has done a very good job with my mom and myself since then. I’ve gotten really close with my dad over the past few years and I appreciate our relationship very much. I don’t want him to feel anything negative about me talking about Jim, so I don’t really bring it up when he’s around. Even though I’m very sure he respects my curiosity and it’s importance I just don’t want to hurt him or make him feel anything that he really shouldn’t. He’s a big softy that way.

I’m not exactly sure why I’m blogging about such a thing. Maybe it’s a backhanded way to tell my mom and my nan that I do want to know about him, but I feel awkward and almost guilty bringing it up a lot of the time because I don’t want them to relive that part of their lives. Also, going to Newfoundland this Christmas will open a few doors for that exploration without too much sadness when it should be a time for a happy occasion.

This whole thing is another reason why I use orange for my colour of choice in “branding.” Orange is the colour of the Leukemia awareness ribbons. Even though it isn’t really all that evident, I like to think I’m doing a small part to help the cause.

I’m quite sure my nan can bet on me snooping a little for family albums when everyone has gone to bed, hint hint…

Fall term

3 Dec

I’m a little baffled as to where the first semester went. It’s officially over in 19 days, but I doubt I will be hanging around all that time. Classes this term are drawing: the body, specialization in photography, photographic history, photographic practices I and ethics and standards.

I have to say, specialization and ethics were a bit of a disappointment. I don’t really feel like I was able to specialize in anything as all the assignments were dealing with the “big three” adverts, art or editorial. I couldn’t just choose one and work toward honing those skills. With ethics I didn’t really feel I learned much about what causes make a photograph controversial, though I suppose that could be fairly obvious. As well as standards, I didn’t really think I learned many standards in photography, nothing about business or any of those things.

One thing I am glad I took part in is joining the Student Legislative Council. Even though my department is full of apathy, no one seems to really care about improving the program or raising money for shows and such, I like being involved on a different level and making decisions about things. Yeah, the things I decide on isn’t really the end of the world, but ratifying student clubs and allocating money to various things, is important on it’s own level. Plus, joining the SLC let’s me meet people in all the other programs I wouldn’t be talking to as the school is somewhat segregated between the majors.

I also joined another committee dealing mainly with the faculty of my major. The goal is to assess the major and start changing it within a reasonable time table. Things like, instead of the major being a Bachelor of Design, it would become a Bachelor of Photography. To me this would make much more sense as the things I learn don’t really deal with design on the same level as the Visual Communications major. Yeah, we learn a little about text placement and leaving room for text, image placement and so on but beyond that, there isn’t really a whole lot of designing going on.

Next term I hope some of the gaps I feel are present will be filled. I am craving a business class, and unfortunately, I think there is one in 4th year. I think this is too late. We are constantly told that the business side of things becomes more important than taking images int he first place. Being self promotion machines and getting our names out there is obviously crucial. If it’s so important, why am I not learning anything about it? I do mean basic things to start out with. We’ve covered model releases which is good, but what about contracts, drafting one with proper wording that is an acceptable document. How about copyright? Editions? Invoices? Pricing? Grants? How do I put a package together?

I plan on selling my work, applying for magazines and promoting the hell out of myself. I want in depth knowledge of how to keep a good workflow and organization to do such things successfully.

One thing that has come out of the term I’m really happy with is the portfolio’s I’ve made. I think my work in those, especially the first, is what I love to take photos of and it shows how far I’ve come. I felt pretty spoiled having class time to drive around all over the place and find those buildings. It certainly didn’t feel like work. I want that all the time after graduation.

Christmas break should be quite exciting as I’m going to Newfoundland to visit my Nan. It’s been about 4 years since seeing my Nan and 10 years since I’ve been to The Rock and it’s about time I get back. I’m really looking forward to seeing my Great-Nan and where she used to live. Right on the ocean, no joke. I really hope that when I’m at that spot the fog rolls in.

Next term should be interesting as well. Design theory, photographic practices II, Advertising and communications, another drawing studio (as I’m not taking digital imaging II) and english. Should be good to see what comes out of it.



11 Jul

Well well, hello there blog. Been almost a month, eh?

I’ve been busy working on a project dealing with QR Codes and Transhumanism/Post-humanism. It’s all very complex and stuff, but the history of barcodes it genuinely interesting. So is transhumanism for that matter. This is basically a far more fleshed out idea than the linear barcode idea I talked about a few posts ago. If you’ve seen the film Minority Report, the idea is kind of based off the eye scanning system they have, to track, identify and personalize adverts for whoever is walking by. There is also a bunch of ideas behind barcodes that we will all just be a number in the future etc…

I’m trying to get into reading again. I’ve started a book I bought ages ago called “Outliers.”

It’s basically talking about success and how part of you becoming successful can be where you are from as well as when you were born. Not just parenting, hard work and all that. Which of course are important, but it’s an interesting view. I’ve only read the intro so far but I will keep with it!

In other news I got my long dead Xbox replaced. I traded up to get a glossy new xbox slim. It is very nice, the chrome details made me nearly swoon, as I am a loser for little details like that. I’ve been playing far too much Red Dead Redemption in some free time and I’m now working to get 100% game completion. Why? I’m not exactly sure. To say I have I suppose. I’m looking forward to starting Splinter Cell: Conviction. I’ve enjoyed the games on game cube so I’m sure it can only be as good if not better for xbox this time round.

I bought one of my friends -the- perfect purple western shirt. The colour she has chosen for her riding accessories is purple, so her bridle, saddle pad, blanket … everything! Is purple. I went to one of her first horse shows of the season and her western shirt she bought when she was 16. It still kind of fits but is a bit tight in some areas, if you know what I mean. So I got this shirt, it’s a men’s shirt but it should fit her. Totally plain. I’m going to add new buttons and embroider the hell out of it to make it awesome and flashy. Which is the way of these western shirts. It’s her Christmas present… shhh. (This is my friend who is a technophobe so she won’t be seeing this.) I’m pretty excited to use all the purple shades possible, sequins and pretty purple buttons to jazz up the shirt.

Product shot from the Wrangler 20x website. No offence to the model but I hope it looks better on her.

And, as if I didn’t have enough projects going on, my very good friend Lucas is going to teach me how to knit. I bought needles (orange ones, obviously) and yarn today! I’m looking forward to knitting, crocheting and cross stitching parties haha!

Some pretty cool things are going on.

9 Jun

First off, I sent my address to Jill Wignall the lady behind Today I Saw. When Jill sees something she draws it on a blank postcard and sends it to someone. I got my address in at the last second! Her project is over this July, having done it for a whole year. I feel so lucky to be getting one:

On another note, Thankfully the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is starting to be controlled. I’m certainly not a hippy or deep environmentalist, anti-oil and all the rest. But the disaster is a huge concern of mine. The clean up will be one hell of a job. On one of the blogs I follow, they had a link to a little application where you could put the size of the oil spill over your home region, just to put it into perspective. I was blown away at how large it is over my home area. Seeing the small satellite picture on BBC News doesn’t really do the scale justice. So, if the spill was over Calgary, this is how it would look:


In other news, I have gotten myself a volunteer position at abrecords. A little recording studio here in Calgary. I’m basically going to be a gopher, filling envelopes, getting office supplies and updating social networking sites. I think it will be a great opportunity. Down the line it might open doors for photography opportunities and may turn into a job down the line. I’m really looking forward to it.