If there is one thing I’ve come to learn in motherhood, it’s how necessary it is to cultivate a community or tribe of support. Our styles and choices are a varied as we and our babes are and yet we all share the joy, the grief, the struggle, the guilt, the doubt, the challenging milestones. As Dori Varga writes in Wildling, volume 3, “The lesson which came with pregnancy, and then motherhood, is to get rid of judgement that is left in my life, and just show pure love to all.”
It is with this in mind that I begin my own twist of the social media hashtag #momcrushmonday that I would like to call #millennialmamamonday. On Mondays, I will celebrate mamas and all that these women find time for in the midst of motherhood.
We are a sisterhood where everyone who considers herself a woman is welcome. ‘Mama’ stands for woman and acts as a hint for the nurturing aspect living inside each of our feminine hearts on this planet.
– Dori Varga in Wildling, Volume 3
I first came to know Joanna through her photography, which spoke to me from the start for the way in which she captures real moments. Those moments so fleeting that you hope to keep with you always, long after memories fade. When we met at the prearranged location of our photoshoot, I had not idea what to expect from the woman behind the lens. Joanna has a quiet way about her as she settles into a shoot, but beneath this understated presence lies strength and control in the way she observes the subjects she photographs. She goes about her work in search of the right lighting and positions all while encouraging those she photographs to naturally fall into their rhythms of togetherness.
Before working with Joanna I admired her work, but by the end of that photoshoot I came to be inspired by the woman behind the photos. As we walked through the park toward our cars, Joanna and I spoke of our shared profession in teaching, but what I most connected with was that she too is mother to an adorable dark-haired boy. More than anything about Joanna, I have become fascinated by the way that motherhood has inspired her creatively. How being a mother strengthens her resolve to pursue a life that she as a woman craves.
After the birth of her son, Freddie, Joanna knew she couldn’t tolerate leaving him for anything less than work she felt passionate for. Drawn to photography as a teenager, but lacking any real training, Joanna took a basic digital camera course at Georgian College when Freddie was six months old. Skills learned at this three-month long course complimented an already discerning creative eye. Inspired by motherhood to make her creative passion into a business, Joanna developed her signature style and began establishing her portfolio. Motherhood, for Joanna, drives her creativity, but it does not confine her. Instead, her role as mother motivates her to be better for herself which in turn allows her to be the best version of herself for Freddie.
Joanna took some time this weekend to share a bit more about herself and her life beyond the gorgeous photography she is known for. Enjoy, as I did, getting to know this stunning woman a bit better.
1. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Lucky for me, my partner, Harry made us blueberry pancakes with lemon zest and we generously drizzled fresh maple syrup that our friends gifted us. Yum!
2. What do you enjoy most about spring?
The possibility. Spring gives us the opportunity to start fresh and feel rejuvenated. Nothing feels as good after a long winter of hibernation, than to feel the warmth of the sun again. I long for the change of having full days of adventure outside.
3. What three things do you take to your desert island (unfortunately Bradley Cooper isn’t available)?
Can I assume my son and partner are there already? I will need some more things. haha 1. My music, I cannot live without. 2. My dog, even though he is a wild man, I couldn’t leave him behind. 3. CAFFEINE. If I have all of these things I will be a happy mama!
4. What song are you currently playing on repeat?
I take my music very seriously. I LOVE discovering new music and always play them on repeat until I hate it. It’s a problem. Right now, it is Search and Destroy by Sanders Bohlke.
5. What’s something Freddy has said or done lately that has you laughing/crying/feeling the warm fuzzies?
Oh boy. There are so many. He is repeating everything we say right now, but that’s a whole other story. One of my favourite things he’s done lately is to notice our dog Benny had the hiccups and when I asked how are we going to fix him? He ran out of the room and came back with a screwdriver and began twisting it above Benny’s tummy saying, “I will fix him mommy!” My heart almost exploded.
6. Something you can’t live without?
My camera. I absolutely adore documenting moments in life. Nothing has the power of a photograph besides living in that exact moment. But these moments pass us by so quickly. I am trying to be as present as I can be while I’m living them. However, sometimes having a camera can interfere with this, so I need to carefully choose what I want to live and what I want to document. I can’t do both.
7. What is your favourite part of motherhood?
Motherhood made me realize how deep your love can be for another human. It is a consuming love that I live for. I love watching him grow and develop into his own person. I will do my best to teach him to be kind, loving, and respectful, and I can’t wait to see him take on the world.
8. Which accounts do you follow on Instagram that are worthy of those new annoying post notifications?
Inspired deeply by these accounts: @miss.cacahuete, @ryanmuirhead, @rayvictoria
9. What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care is how I recharge. I need time for me. I have no guilt about that… anymore. I struggled with this immensely being a new mom, but have now learned I am a better mom for it. I need time for myself to reflect, to be active and to enjoy doing things I love. Whether it’s to walk the dog, have a bath, read a book, or have dinner with a girlfriend, I savour it.
10. What is one of the most important things you’ve learned since becoming a mother?
One of the most important things I have learned as a mom is you never know what type of parent you will be until you are one. Before becoming a mom I had all these ideas in my head about the type of mom I would be and the things I would not do, but that’s exactly what they were… ideas. Until you’re in that moment with your child you can’t plan how things are going to work. For example, before becoming a mom I said I would never allow my child to sleep with us. However, after Freddie was admitted to the hospital for a week with pneumonia, he has since been sleeping in our bed with us. It’s not something I thought I would ever do. However, he wanted to be close to us after an experience like that and I certainly couldn’t blame him. I want the best for him and will continue to do what works for us. It is easy to judge others about how they parent, but now I understand everyone is trying their best. As parents we are all in it together, we need be supporting one another through this wild adventure.
I am a mother, partner, dreamer and lover of photography. I am passionate about capturing emotion through raw images. I use natural lighting and like to keep things simple, real and include nature everywhere I can. I may be known to push the boundaries……just a little.
Located in Orillia, Ontario, Canada and happy to travel to surrounding areas.