Children inspire mother's photography career


October 01, 2002|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

OAKLAND MILLS resident Bonnie Johnson has turned her passion for photography into a career. She had been taking pictures for 12 years, but found her niche after her children were born. Her daughter, Nara, is 10, and her son, Kade, is 7.

"I took lots of pictures of my kids when they were small," Johnson said. "When they got into preschool, people started asking me to take pictures of their kids."

That was the beginning of her photography business, simply called Bonnie Johnson Photography.

The look of Johnson's pictures is distinct.

"I like to take pictures of people in their own environment," she said. "I really like to try to capture their personality."

She works in black and white because she feels color distracts from the subject. She works in the subject's home or in an outdoor environment.

Johnson said she believes photographs are important in everyone's lives. "Photographs give you a sense of who you are and where you came from," she said. "They give you an insight into your own family history."

She discovered recently that her grandfather, who died before she was born, was an amateur photographer. "Because of him, I have a photo of my great-great-grandfather as a cook at the World's Fair" in Paris in the 1890s, she said.

Johnson also has a photograph of her great-great-grandmother posing with a cousin.

"Both women were born on an Indian reservation," Johnson said. "The reservation couldn't continue financially, so my grandmother's cousin put herself through nursing school." Johnson has many family stories that are linked to photographs.

"People should display their photos proudly," she said. "Often, when I go to a client's home, I ask them to show me where they will display the photos."

A member of the Talbott Springs Elementary School PTA and chairwoman of the fifth-grade yearbook committee, Johnson is committed to sharing her love for the craft with children at the school.

"We're going to let the kids take candid pictures for the yearbook," she said. "We're hoping to get some funds for disposable cameras."

The kids will learn much more than how to take a picture from the project, Johnson said. "They will see themselves and their classmates in a different way," she said. "They also may start thinking of careers they may not otherwise have known about, such as photojournalism and publishing."

"When the kids take the pictures, they will be able to show some initiative and individuality," said fifth-grade teacher Nick Perrone. "They will have a sense of ownership of the yearbook. In the past, it's always been something that has been made for them by the parents."

Johnson will run a booth at the Oakland Mills International Fall Festival scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 12 at Oakland Mills Village Center.

Information: 410-730-4610.

Distinguished scholars

Congratulations to Oakland Mills High School seniors who participated in the Maryland Distinguished Scholar Program.

The program is divided into two categories: academics and the arts. The academic portion is based on a combination of grade point average and SAT scores. The arts portion is judged on performances in dance, singing and drama.

The Oakland Mills students competed with others from across the state.

In academics, finalists were Meredith Brenner, Karen Freeman and Lauranne Lanz; semifinalists were Meagan Supple and Kristin Stephens; honorable mentions went to Sharon Berlin, Allison Bohac, Jamie Bowman, Daniel Burke, Perry Gorelik, Allison Heinly, David Huber, Landon LeDoux, Fahad Qayumi and Jyoti Singh.

In arts, Brittany Newsome was a finalist in vocal music. Semifinalists were Kristin Livingston for dance and Adam Magruder for vocal music. Honorable mentions were given to Kenneth Gillis and Margaret Lockhart for dance.

"We are very proud of this class and how they have competed with other schools," said Pauline Phillips, instructional leader for guidance.

Teacher of the Year

Tom Clifton, a math teacher at Oakland Mills High School, was named Teacher of the Year for 2001-2002 by the PTSA at a back-to-school night last month.

Bound for college

A talk on "Helping Your Teens Get into College" will be presented by Rosalie Bowen, assistant principal at Howard High School, at 7:30 p.m. today at Oakland Mills High School.

The presentation, for parents and students, will begin with an overview of the steps students must take to get into college.

"Preparation really starts in ninth grade," said Phillips. "You can start to schedule when to take certain tests and you can find out what colleges are looking for in a student."

Bowen also will discuss pitfalls and common mistakes that can be made and "secrets" that can make college admission a lot easier.

Information: 410-313-6950.

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