Friday, July 3, 2009

SHOOT FOR THE STARS: (In which Johnna Bockover tells you how to win $ 2,000.00 while helping hurting children)

In January I met a quietly powerful woman with an eye for making a difference in the world. Today you can meet her too. Please listen in while Johnna Bockover and I chat.

Johnna, If a photographer could catch the essence of you, what might that photo look like?
More words in my eyes than on my lips! I believe the eyes truly are the window to the soul, and I would want the essence of me to be revealed in much more than meets your eye. I would want you as a viewer to see that a photograph can capture emotion and not just a subject. Therefore, it wouldn't matter what I would be wearing or what environment the shot was taken in... but most importantly what you can read through my eyes. I would want the image to convey life, peace and rest.

"Speaking of capturing emotion in a photograph... I recently captured a great image while photographing a family. These two siblings were in their innocent minds simply thinking, and I believe much emotion can be read in the eyes of this little boy."
Wow! You're right! Those eyes speak volumes...

Back to you and photos. Do you have a favorite self portrait you’d like to share with us?

That's why I'm a photographer... because I like to be BEHIND the camera! ha! But ya know what... I should have a self-portrait, huh? This question has just motivated me to do so! So watch my blog for an image soon!

I did recently have a photo shoot by Underpin Photography to get a headshot of me for my website. (see below) It's a good image, but I still am not overly excited about being in front of the camera. On a side note... the last photo shoot I experienced prior to this one, was for my high school senior portrait in 1996! I know you have a non-profit called Star Shooter. Tell us about that.
Star Shooter is a nonprofit organization I established one year ago in July 2008, to merge my skills and passion together to help children. I have a master's in psychology and have enjoyed photography since I was a child. I have worked with abused and neglected children in the social services field for 6yrs. and have a huge heart and vision to restore hurting youth through a creative means. Star Shooter has five wonderful Board Members who have helped lay the foundation to what it is today. Learn more at
our website.
  • Star Shooter's Mission: to equip children with a tool for expression using photography and allow them the opportunity to discover the "star" within themselves.
  • Star Shooter's Vision: for all children to be emotionally healthy to live out their destiny with confidence. Here is a photograph of the children in our first workshop. I worked with children at an after school program for at-risk youth. These two children worked hard at photographing images that portrayed their own personal life and choosing the best images to be printed in a book. The culminating event included displaying their big smiles and books at Barnes and Nobles in Myrtle Beach, SC. :) "

What is phototherapy and why is it important to you?
At Star Shooter, we define phototherapy as: "Using a camera as a catalyst, the client has a tangible opportunity to express what's not so tangible inside of them." Phototherapy can be viewed as a form of art therapy, which allows creative expression for a child. Phototherapy is important to me as I work with children, because it gives a child an opportunity to express, heal and change... and learn a skill that could possibly turn into a career.

Is there a particular group of children that you have a special concern for? Who are they and what dreams or plans do you have for working with them?
Yes, I particularly care to reach out to at-risk children that have been abused or neglected. Even more definitive, my ultimate location to conduct a Star Shooter workshop would be in the Gaza strip, Israel, where children are traumatized by violence. I would love to teach the children how to shoot a camera rather than a gun. Currently, Star Shooter is planning a trip to South Africa this October to conduct a workshop with aids-affected orphans! Stay tuned-in to our blog for updated information.

"This image was taken in Bethlehem, Israel on Christmas Eve 2007. Entering this "little town", my eyes were opened to the poverty and violence of the local Arabs. My heart immediately went out to the many children occupying alleyways." - Johnna

I know there is a contest we want to hear about but first, can you share one random thing you'd like us to know?" Random is good. I'll share a bit of "behind the scenes" of Star Shooter. Star Shooter was birthed out of rest. I worked pretty intensely in the social-services field while going to school for my Master's degree. To say the least, I was worn out. I took a large step back and decided I didn't want to live my life in a ball of knots... so I obeyed what I felt God was telling me, which can also be found in Hebrews 4. He actually commands us to rest! "Labor into rest" was my new primary occupation which brought forth Star Shooter! I just relaxed, started pursuing things that brought joy and fueled life... and Star Shooter was birthed with just a few pushes! Star Shooter is one year old July 2, 2009! I believe with continued care and support from people like you, we can together raise up a mighty Star Shooter to help children in need. Bless You All!

Thanks, Johnna! And now, about your contest - is it too late for people to enter? If not, tell us how to get involved!
It's not too late YET... but the deadline is August 1, 2009. Star Shooter is conducting its first fundraiser by way of a photo contest open to the public, any age, from anywhere in the world. The theme is general, but the judges will be looking for a fresh, new perspective on life! The judges will consist of Star Shooter's five board members and a few professional photographers. Submission fee per photo is $25 and proceeds will benefit the organization in purchasing cameras for the children to use in our workshops.

It's easy to submit your photos:
1) E-mail your titled image to
2) Submit fee via paypal link on the site (or mail it all). Visit for full details.

Oh... the most important part about this contest is that it has a BIG PRIZE! A new Canon 5D Mark ll (a super fancy 21 megapixel digital camera with video feature) or $2,000.00!!!

So there you have it folks! If you need a camera (or a few extra dollars) and if you want to help Johnna make a difference in the world, do enter the contest.

Oh, and do the children of the world, a favor, will you? Spread the word about the contest! Hurry now.


  1. Great interview! I think Johnna is a gifted person with a HUGE heart! I'm so happy so many people are taking notice of her!

  2. Thanks Katie! You're right about Johnna.


  3. It is good to see this work being done - and great interview!! Congrats on both!!

    Am also thinking your readers (and Johnna also??) might want to do some additional reading about what PhotoTherapy techniques are and aren't -- as well as those closely related techniques of both "Photo Art Therapy" and "Therapeutic Photography" -- which is what I think she is actually doing here.

    This field has been around since the late 1970's -- with many articles & books since about kids and cameras and healing.

    No "territorial issues" here -- just happy to see this work being done (and done so well!!) -- and wanting to give it a bit of historical context and clarify the definitions just a bit tighter -- see:
    for more about all this..

    Check the "Who is Doing What, Where" page and the "Related Links" page -- and consider adding a paragraph to both of these about your work too?

    and maybe post something about this ON the Discussion Group page of that site -- no membership needed!

    Again, my congrats on both the good work and the excellent website!

    Judy Weiser, Director (since 1982!) of the PhotoTherapy Centre;