top two photos by The Johnsons
photo by The Harp Creatives
This summer, TBCo. was lucky enough to catch up with talented American photographers, Anna Harp & Johnna Johnson, on their travels through Scotland. It’s always fun to see our beautiful city through fresh eyes and remember how lucky we are to call Scotland home. We met on Arthur’s Seat as the sun was setting over Edinburgh, took some photos, talked about life and laughed as we wrestled the wind in an attempt to keep our picnic blankets in one spot. Both Anna & Johnna have built beautiful, considerate businesses around capturing emotive images of human connection. We talked to them about travelling, working, creativity and slow living. Read on for a Colsie Moment with Anna & Johnna!
Where's Home? What do you do there? And what inspired a trip to Scotland?
Anna: Siloam Springs, Arkansas. I photograph couples and weddings in Arkansas and beyond! My husband and I have always wanted to go so whenever my friend Johnna told me about the affordable tickets she found, it was a done deal!
Johnna: Fort Smith, Arkansas. I have a nursing degree but I’m currently not using it - I’m a full time wedding photographer! This was actually our second trip to Scotland, and despite having the opportunity to go anywhere else, we opted to go back. I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly drew us back, I swear there’s just something magical about it.
What's been your favourite experience so far?
Anna: Everyone keeps asking me what my favorite part of the trip has been, and my answer every time is ALL OF IT. There is not one experience that was anything less than wonderful.
Johnna: I feel the same as Anna, there’s not one thing I could pinpoint as being my favorite. From a “touristy” perspective, I think Craigmillar Castle was my favorite castle we visited. It was amazing to be able to wander around the ruins and think about how generations past lived and loved there.
How do you practice Colsie while travelling? Johnna, how does it look for you travelling with kids?
Anna: For me it is just knowing when to set the camera aside and take it all in! I feel like there has to be a balance when traveling or it is easy to get sucked into the creative side of it all and forget to live in the moment!
Johnna: I think I could definitely do better about being intentional in practicing colsie, but this trip I found it in being able to enjoy the small moments of calm. I remember one such moment in particular when we had walked to the top of Calton Hill and the adults were sitting on a bench while the kids were both running around. After a bit of play they came over and sat quietly with us and enjoyed the view and it kind of dawned on me how important it was to lead by example of just sitting and taking in the moment.
You are both insanely talented photographers, where do you find inspiration?
Anna: Literally everywhere! Films, other photographers, the outdoors etc. I was once super inspired by a piece of brown craft paper and built a whole photoshoot around it!
Johnna: I’ve found inspiration everywhere, but people watching is oddly inspiring to me. It’s fascinating to watch how two people interact with each other in the relative anonymity of a crowd and then to take that ease and comfort and try to give that to my own clients has been particularly rewarding
You’re both running your own photography businesses. What was your journey into photography? How did that turn into a business?
Anna: My love for photography goes way back, and has only grown stronger over time. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I decided I wanted photography to be my career, and not just a hobby. Getting to do something that I have loved for so long, and translating it into a business, has truly been a dream!
Johnna: My mom actually dabbled in portrait photography when I was growing up, so before I could even drive I had her camera and was talking my friends into modelling for me. On the flip side I was also interested in medicine and thought that would be what I’d pursue academically and I did for a while, even though I was still doing photography full time. Eventually my love for photography won out and now it has my full attention :)
Both of you work on your photography alongside your husbands. What’s that like? Any tips for mixing personal life and work?
Anna: It’s literally so cool that I get to have my favorite person by my side, while I do what I love most! My husband works a full time job and still manages to be my sidekick for every couple shoot and wedding. I am forever thankful for his support in my passions.
Johnna: Wade has a full time job as a supervisor for a construction company and he works out of town quite a bit. It’s so nice to have him with me on wedding days because otherwise we’d be working opposite schedules and I wouldn’t see him at all. I think I’m usually so happy to have him around working together tends to go really smoothly haha.
Any current recommendations?
Anna: Book Currently reading ‘A Discovery of Witches’, and cannot put it down! Song ‘Bad Guy’ by Billie Eilish is such a bop. Podcast The Mile Higher podcast (if you’re into true crime + conspiracy theories, definitely check it out)! Quote “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days, before you’ve actually left them.” -Andy Bernard. Brand Doc Martens. Website I’m embarrassingly addicted to pinterest.
Johnna: Book Anna starting A Discovery of Witches on our trip inspired me to read the series again, so same! Song Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Sufjan Stevens. If I had to pick a particular song of his I’d probably say "Carrie and Lowell". Podcast My mother in law got me started on Root of Evil and it’s horrifyingly fascinating, but my all time favorite is Sawbones - a medical podcast that would appeal to even the individual most uninterested in medicine. Quote “always be kinder than you feel” Brand Le Labo Fragrances’ branding/aesthetic is visually captivating. Not to mention I always get compliments when I wear their Jasmine scent. Recipe On lazy nights we’ll roast cherry tomatoes with olive oil until the skin starts to wrinkle, then we’ll add a block of feta, kalamata olives, a pinch of salt and other spices (usually basil or thyme!), and pop it back in the oven until the cheese is softened and heated through. We’ll eat it on whatever crusty bread we have on hand.
What's the most recent thing in your web search history?
Anna: How to apply to be the Queen’s social media manager. (LOL) Because that would be a dream!
Johnna: How to install butcher block countertops, haha! When we’re not shooting weddings or hanging out with our kids we’re slowly renovating our little mid century home.
If you were a meme, which would you be?
Anna: Bread girl!
Johnna: Michael Scott
photo above by The Johnsons
What’s your favourite TBCo. product?
Anna: I am obsessed with my Stewart Natural Recycled Blanket! My cat also has grown quite fond of it since I’ve brought it home, so she definitely approves.
Johnna: The Recycled Wool Blankets are amazing! Before we even left Scotland I was considering coming back for another and would have if we had room in our bags haha!
photo above by The Johnsons
To see their work, find them online!
photo by The Harp Creatives