Photography has become more accessible in the digital age, but does it seem that many of us now leave our cameras at home in favor of the handier cell-phone quick pic? A portrait photographer pulls out all the big equipment, a finely tuned eye, and a little Photoshop, to create a lifetime work of art that goes well beyond capturing an event.
Amy Johnson is just such a photographer. This self-professed former geek (she’s a trained hydrogeologist) has been able to expand the snapshot into art that speaks of life. Looking at her body of work takes the viewer beyond family portraiture into a gallery of happy, engaged people.
“Older kids, teenagers and adults tend to have one smile and look the same in every picture,” Amy says.
Those who are difficult to photograph might wish to have just that one face! Using her well-honed ability to interact with subjects, Amy finds the pose that is not rehearsed.
Locals can have a Halloween portrait taken by this accomplished artist for a donation to the Mountain Resource Center on Oct. 23 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 11030 Kitty Drive in Conifer. I know how much I treasure a picture of my own daughter when we did something similar. Johnson’s work has that ability to reach deep into your heart.
When she’s not taking pictures for MRC, her children’s schools, a loyal following that reaches all the way to Kodiak, Alaska, or giving through portrait photography to families facing a life-threatening disease, Amy’s skill peaks with the Colorado Heart Gallery. This group uses photography to find forever homes for older children, many who have come through the foster system.
“Here’s where one picture can change a child’s life,” says Amy.
In these high-quality portraits, each child communicates a longing that begs to be answered. The Heart Gallery moves photography to a whole new level and has resulted in numerous permanent placements.
Amy finds children easier to photograph because they don’t hold that one look. She has had her heart tugged at by these children in a very profound way. Getting the soul to shine through is a trade secret, but the adoptions are proof that Amy’s method works.
“A guest bedroom can be the beginning of a forever home for an older child,” she says.
You can see these children online at www.HeartGalleryCo.org and Amy’s work at www.AmyPhoto.com.
Hannah B. Hayes is a former Both Sides Now debate columnist, small-business owner and peace activist. She has been a part of the Evergreen community for more than 35 years.