We had the good fortune of connecting with J. Kat Woronowicz Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi J. Kat, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
One thing I’ve learned in 2020 was that my work does not define me. When all my clients canceled last Spring due to Covid fears, I went through alot of fears myself. Fear of economic insecurity and the loss of my purpose and identity. Earning money and being financially independent are important to my personal values and also as an American. I have a young daughter. During my pregnancy I was worried that I would lose clients and my identity as a photographer when I became a mother. I reached out for support to my colleagues and friends that were mothers but still continued their career and asked how they did it. They all said it’s a “balance” Yes, I lost some clients after I had my daughter. My biggest challenge is arranging childcare on the days I scheduled photo shoots. I found a wonderful and affordable daycare early on that not only helped when I was working, but let me take time for just me. Also, I was lucky to have family nearby to help me out. My daughter loves her grandma! A well balanced life is a daily choice. Am I going to live in fear or faith? I have to be in tune with myself and know when it is time to slow down, to put my phone away and be present with my family. I deleted my Facebook account. I bake pies. I shoot creative projects that don’t pay that well so that I can feel that spark of creativity. I know my worth and can Estimate a big job with confidence. I reach out for help if I don’t know how to do something. I say no. I stopped eating sugar. I signed up for a 200 hour yoga teacher training this spring, something I have always wanted to do and I am finally ready. Excited to see what the future holds. I don’t do this perfectly, but I’m getting better at it slowly, and learn from my mistakes. I trust that my husband will be there to support me through it, I am not alone.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Since Covid, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing many drive in concerts for Mainly Mozart at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California. When other arts organizations were canceling or going virtual, MM found a way to make live music happen. The drive in concerts were emotional for me as well as the musicians and the audience. There’s something magical about being in the energy of live performance art, feeling the vibe of the energy of the crowd and the electricity of the music. People honked in appreciation, some had tears streaming down their faces. I definitely had goosebumps, a heart full of gratitude and a sense of purpose, happy to be working again, doing what I love and documenting the experience. I had the best seat in the house!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband, Esan Johnson, who is my ground. My parents, Ania & Andrew Woronowicz, who provided me with an education and financial support. My mother in law, Ardath Farner, who is generous, kind and supports me with childcare. My mentor, John Running, who taught me how to make a portrait. My client, Mainly Mozart, who had the courage to make performance art happen during the darkness of the Covid pandemic, and helped give me along with musicians and our community a sense of purpose again.