kirby b. johnson photojournal

Wise Guy

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on June 28, 2010

What does a young man of 15 years do on a hot summer day?

Probably X-Box stuff.

– – I’m afraid not.

Wii stuff?

– – Uh uh.

Work with his iPad?

– – Nope. I don’t think he has one.

Well, what does he do?

– – He tags along with two of his uncles to a local air show, listens to old guys talk about their experiences in the war, waits patiently in line at a concession stand and he says “Please” and “Thank you” when he buys a hot-dog. After the air show, he hitches a ride to a garage where another one of his uncles is putting some finishing touches on his beautifully restored 1969 Chevy Camaro; he’s very eager to assist his uncle bleed the brakes.

There are still things to which young people can avail themselves that enrich their lives and provide guiding experiences and aid their learning that aren’t shrink wrapped and high priced. My great-nephew Jack is wise to take advantage of those things. Maybe his folks or one of his other uncles can get him an iPad.

Sounds like he doesn’t need one.


Bob’s B-17

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on May 14, 2010

Shortly after gently touching down at Janes Field in Blaine MN, my friend Bob Zenz poses for a portrait in front of the B-17 that had just carried Bob as a VIP passenger. This vintage WWII aircraft did not engage in any combat during the war; it rolled off the assembly line shortly before the war’s end.

NNO: Opportunities In Como

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on August 7, 2009

NNO_20090804The evening of August 4th marked the annual event that gives individuals, across the country, the opportunity to gather and revisit an old concept – – the neighborhood. This tried and true model of community flies in the face of another idea that has growing prevalence today. That notion being that the many houses lining our streets are lone structures, where families go about their lives – – all by themselves – – with scant interaction with other families. This notion  is the death nail to the concept of neighborhood. This notion leads to a missed opportunity. The opportunity to befriend someone who holds your same interests or concerns; the opportunity to befriend someone who holds different interests or concerns.  Each August, one evening is marked on the calendar to revisit an opportunity that is available to us every day and night of the year. Thank you to Rebecca and Kyle. The root beer floats along with Niko and Cessi made us feel welcome. Thank you for hosting National Night Out for our neighborhood. Thank you for the opportunity.

Marty’s Drum

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on July 16, 2009

Marty_3Marty is an individual who listens to no one – – unless they have something to say. For nearly 35 years, I’ve had the good fortune of knowing that the drummed cadence that sounds in Marty’s head is heard only by him. It’s quite possible that if others were within earshot of his drummer, they wouldn’t be able to keep in step. That’s just fine with me. I’m perfectly content to let my good friend Marty lead the way – – I’ll listen for the drum.

Brethren; 15th Air Force, Foggia Italy

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on July 11, 2009

bob & bob

Two men: who grew up up in homes less than 15 miles from one another, who collected soda bottles to be able to go to the movies, who both raised families like you watched on Father Knows Best, who witnessed the milestones, joys and disappointments in their children’s lives, who laughed at Jack Benny and Mork & Mindy, who both remember the ’37 Ford Coupe their neighbor kept on his driveway, who both drove ‘K’ cars in the 1980’s…

These two men had to grow up fast while resolutely serving their country. These two men, who still live less than 15 miles from one another, met for the very first time in May of this year during a display of vintage WWII aircraft at Jane’s Field, Blaine Minnesota. Bob Clemens (L) and Bob Zenz (r) both served in the 15th Army Air Force based in Foggia Italy during World War II. A combined total of 88 missions flown (50 Clemens – – 38 Zenz) these two men routinely downplay their contributions and sacrifices they’ve made for their country.

The circumstances that allowed me to witness these two men becoming acquainted are measureless. These two men provided me an experience that will impact me forever.

3500 Pleasant Ave.

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on June 17, 2009


Ken – – philosopher, painter, resident caretaker, neighbor.

Greetings From Lake Bronson!

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on May 29, 2009


“Having a wonderful time. Wish you were here!” – – David Danielson

Grant Wood’s Surprise

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on May 26, 2009

p & g prosser

An homage to Grant Wood’s American Gothic. Sun City Grand is a residential development community located in Surprise Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix. The people of this area are warm and welcoming – – just like the “Valley of the Sun” in which they reside.

Remembering Mary

Posted in portrait by kirbybjohnson on May 15, 2009

I had the good fortune of being introduced to Mary, her husband Coleman and daughters Claire and Emma for a portrait sitting last month. This post is dedicated to Mary’s memory,  to her family and to the wish Mary had for everyone she met – – Love and Laugh.

Mary Carter-43-2Mary Carter-145-2Mary Carter-152-2