Channing Johnson Photography » A Photographer's Journal

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I started surfing just over three years ago. Since then almost everything takes a back seat to bumps in the surf forecast. I would say my wife and son are more important than my new surfing interest, but Brooke sometimes looks unconvinced when I try to stress this. My friend, and chief enabler, Ben, is the one who made me stop talking about learning to surf “one day” and actually made it happen. This year we made a pilgrimage to Surf Simply, a surf coaching resort whose online tutorials had helped us learn the little we do know. The teaching methodology there is perfect and shy of necessary for progressing your surfing when you aren’t 16, you have a job, a family, and live in a place where you expect to only have enough wave energy to surf once a month. Maybe twice. And the idea of surfing twice a day for a week in 80 degree waters and 80 degree air was enough to abandon my wife and 3-year-old in February for two weeks. Although, you have to know I cut the trip short. It never occurred to me I could get tired of surfing. Maybe it was the homesickness, but even paradise gets old after a week when you don’t have your family with you. I came back after a modest 12 days and found no divorce papers, and my things weren’t on the lawn. Brooke even said I could go again next year. But now she gets to plan her own getaway. Although I told her we can’t afford it. I already spent that money. I didn’t take many pictures in Costa Rica, but here’s the few that I did.

Katie - Beautiful slice of (honest) life… ❤March 4, 2017 – 9:30 am

Amanda and Curtis

I don’t get a chance to do a lot of winter weddings, but Amanda and Curtis’ Harrington Farm celebration reminded me why I love them so much. When it’s cold outside it seems the warmth and intimacy is heightened as everybody gets cozy inside. People warmed up by the fireplace after the ceremony and scorched the dance floor after dinner. Amanda and Curtis’ first dance was to Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters”.  After stopping and listening to the lyrics I realized it might be the most perfect wedding song I’ve ever heard. Thank you, Amanda and Curtis, for the pleasant surprises and most comfortable way to spend a January evening. Congratulation, guys!

Best of 2016

My year started off in February with an elopement in Hawaii. Less than a week later I was photographing a wedding in Michigan. The rest of the year I made my way through New England, but I love the beginning contrasts. From warm weather paradise to Grand Rapids. I was excited for both, and I approached the two weddings the way I approach them all: looking for interactions and emotions between loved ones. No matter where I am or what I’m photographing that’s always my first interest and priority. I am so grateful to all the couples and families who let me accompany them on their wedding day. Here are a few favorite images from 2016. I love going back and looking at a year’s work as the weekends start to fill up with a whole new calendar of special moments. Thank you to all the amazing people I worked with this past year!

Janice Bissex - Amazing photos!January 11, 2017 – 7:50 am

Corey and Frank

Corey and Frank got married at the Cyclorama in the South End. This was my last wedding of 2016, and I can’t think of a better way of ending a great year. I didn’t get a chance to meet Corey and Frank before the wedding, but they were both extremely kind and pleasant to be around. The Cyclorama isn’t a small space, but everything felt intimate and cozy. There was no shortage of dancing and everything was really fun to photograph. Congratulations, Guys!


Carly and Jeff

Carly and Jeff got married on top of a mountain. Jay Peak in northern Vermont is a very special place to them, so it only made since to start their married life in the clouds. What started off as relatively tame day turned pleasantly bizarre as horse and unicorn heads appeared on the dance floor. My favorite was the pug mask. This group of people was so fun to document right up to the end when Carly and Jeff were lifted into the air as Bohemian Rhapsody played the evening out. Carly and Jeff then dodged sparkler fire as they ran from the tent. And Jeff donned a unicorn mask. Thank you, Jeff and Carly, for an endless list of great things to photograph. Congratulations, guys!


Ally and Mark

Look. It rained. The whole day. And I’m sure leading up to the wedding Ally and Mark were worried about what the forecast would mean for their Truro celebration. They had good reason. But in the end people still danced and laughed just as much as if the ground had been dry. I was definitely laughing most of the day. This group was so fun to not only photograph but simply be around. From the sprinting back down the aisle after the ceremony to the Three Amigos-inspired first dance, I enjoyed every minute of this wet and wonderful wedding. Congratulations, Ally and Mark!


Orcas Island

Travis died in June. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer in April, and things moved impossibly fast. His last days were so purposeful, and we mourned his immediate absence, but the idea that he was gone felt so abstract. We planned an east coast memorial, and everyone gathered and shared stories. We planned a west coast memorial, and it seemed like he was everywhere. But a sense of real loss came over us as the ferry pulled away from Orcas Island a couple of weeks ago. We had just spread his ashes from the Folger’s coffee can he asked to be kept in, and we yelled his name at the top of our lungs on one of the most beautiful patches of earth I have ever seen. At his request we all dressed in 80’s clothes or ridiculous hats. He planned out his entire memorial service. He was our host.

The grief right after he died was profound. Now our daily lives have returned to their familiar routines and although not nearly as acute, the grief that simmers steadily under the surface has its own unreachable itch.


Orcas Island » Channing Johnson Photography - […] were lucky to make it out to the Pacific Northwest again this year to spend time with our west coast family. Orcas Island will never get old. Seeing Ellis […]October 5, 2017 – 2:09 pm

Laurie Marino - Hearing again about Travis, seeing those pictures, has me in tears. He is, was, irreplaceable…and you were so blessed, as were we all, to have known him. God bless us all, God bless Travis….let him never disappear from our hearts.October 13, 2016 – 9:16 pm

KLC - Viewing these made me cry, and I haven’t even met you, let alone Travis. Art, and your art, is a powerful thing. Sending you and your family love.October 13, 2016 – 3:23 pm

Isabella and John

Isabella and John were married at the Willowdale Estate in Topsfield. Isabella got ready at her mom’s salon in Belmont. I loved photographing amongst all the activity in a place that has so much meaning. The whole day had such a strong feeling of excitement and celebration. That was particularly true on that dance floor which was a lot of fun to document. Congratulations, Isabella and John!


Jenna and Justin

Jenna and Justin got married at the Marriott Longwharf in Boston. I wasn’t able to meet them in person before the wedding, but I quickly felt very comfortable with Jenna and Justin and all their favorite people. This was a fun one, and I’m so glad I was a part of it. Congratulations, Jenna and Justin!


Carol Crowther - Wishing you all the happiness in the world. Congratulations! Great photosOctober 5, 2016 – 8:47 pm

Kelly and Matt

Kelly and Matt got married at Elm Bank in Wellesley. They didn’t talk about getting ready together, but it naturally ended up that way. They separated when Kelly got in her dress, and when they happened to see each other next Matt was holding a bathroom sign. The lack of orchestration made the real emotions feel more pronounced and authentic. I loved this wedding so much. Congratulations, Kelly and Matt!