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Meet J. Kat Woronowicz Johnson

Today we’d like to introduce you to J. Kat Woronowicz Johnson.

Kat, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m grateful to be able to make a living doing what I love and what I am passionate about. Photography has always been a part of my life since my dad gave me my first camera as a kid.

My education started at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where l quickly became unhappy with the conceptual curriculum and the cold, lonely city. Luckily I got a second chance and found my way to Flagstaff, Ariz. and transferred to Northern Arizona University in my Sophomore year. That was a much better fit and I blossomed there. My favorite part was working as a Staff Photographer at the school’s independent newspaper, The Lumberjack. Learned more there than in any classroom. After graduation in 2002, my first job was as Chief Photographer at the Sedona Red Rock News. It was a beautiful and nurturing place to start my career.

But I got restless and followed my intuition to go further West, to San Diego. My dream client was the Union-Tribune and within my first month of moving here, I started freelancing for the U-T and the former North County Times and the Daily Transcript. Newspaper assignments keep me busy and I was shooting two to three a day learning to become a better photographer, getting to know the area and community. Slowly, as newspaper budgets started to dwindle, bigger corporate and commercial jobs replaced photojournalism. I landed some great clients thanks to the connections I made while working for newspapers.

Today I continue to freelance, photographing people, places and events for commercial, corporate and editorial clients.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My biggest challenge is believing in myself through the ups and downs that come with the freedom of working for myself. Abundance and trust are important spiritual principals. I recently have reconnected with my place of origin, Warsaw, Poland and hope to spend more time there raising my daughter around the Polish language and culture. In 2020 1 hope to pick up some international assignments, grow my social media presence, and make beautiful photographs. My biggest support is the stability of my relationship with my husband, Esan, who is the best assistant and a great father to our daughter, June. He helps keep me grounded.

Tell us more about the business.
I specialize in corporate portraits. I photograph regular people, usually lawyers, CEOs and other professionals on location for commercial usage. Love connecting with my subjects and using that along with great flattering lighting and incorporating backgrounds and parts of their world to create beautiful portraits. I also shoot the production stills for the San Diego Opera. Corporate events keep me busy too, that is a great way to use my skills from my past photojournalism assignments.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my many mentors, inspirations and clients; Flagstaff photographers Kristen and Keiji Iwai, Jake Bacon and the late John Running. Former Newspaper editors that gave me my start Cyndy Sullivan from the North County Times, Michael Franklin from the U-T, and Joe Guerin from the Daily Transcript. Current clients Edward Wilensky at the San Diego Opera and Cesar Gumapas at City College and keep me busy with new work.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All Photographs Copyright J. Kat Photo, Inc.

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