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My Ruby Slippers?


In these uncertain times our business has come to a screeching halt. Working on the last two orders has brought me to tears. I find myself walking through our beautiful studio, It is eerily quiet. We have always had the deepest passion for what we do. For the first time the value of what we do has stopped me in my tracks. In front of each portrait I am transported back to the moments of being with each person, each child, family and professional.

In the stillness, I hear past conversations about planning, excitement and concerns. Each sharing a special event, or milestone. All this passes through my mind, adding melancholy to my thoughts. I could swear that each portrait holds the memories of the laughter, teasing, tensions, and togetherness. And for the one moment we captured, through our lense, your story. Your joy. 

These are scary, lonely, empty, financially tough times. I have realized there is something that I hadn’t seen before. HOPE. In an instant my heart leaped and I stood before each portrait with new eyes. Each Child, Family,  Senior and Professional portrait had deeper connections. Importance that showed me why we do what we do.

Putting into words why Joe and I are so devoted to this passion is difficult. Why we have sacrificed birthdays, anniversaries and holidays with our own family? Reflecting over 40 years of business I have felt the guilt every mother feels. ”Should I have , could I have”  been a better parent?”

The last portrait I pause to reflect about is of my own family from our youngest son’s wedding that a dear photographer friend captured for us. Joe and I are forever grateful. All my emotions rushed to the surface again.  



I see the hope for my family’s future. New homes, new babies, new jobs, new relationships. What we have done has made  a difference in our lives and I hope in the lives of all we have encountered and photographed.

I am creating our “Memory Project” from our years as photographers. And because our digital archives are full of so many happy and wonderful memories, I will be posting and blogging. My heart feels lighter as I continue to dig deeper into all we have saved. Thousands of images over 40 years. Digital files starting in 2006. This is joyful.

Your little moments.

Your story.

Your love.

Your hope.

Portraits are meant to keep and hold dear.

Life will be better. Joe and I see it on all our studio and home walls. We feel it in our hearts. Togetherness matters. Your story matters. When you want to just talk, please call/text me. When you want to have portraits taken, we will be here.

Our age is a blessing. Our experience, filled with wisdom. Have courage. Be kind. Stay connected.

Walk by your photos with renewed joy.
We are waiting to share and be with you again.

P.S. Oh Yes… the Title? Ruby Slippers?

 “Well yes Dorothy, I do believe I have found my ruby slippers. They have been on my feet all along.  There is no place like home”

In gratitude and hope,
Judy and Joe Johnston

Johnston Portrait Studio

© March 27, 2020


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