On Monday I announced I’d be transitioning the main focus of my business from photography to private photo editing. With that, I also announced a name change. I’m retiring the name Kingsbridge Photography and moving forward as Christi Johnson Creative. I’d been considering rebranding for a while. Our move to CA brought the perfect opportunity to make it happen. Later this week I’ll share about why building a personal brand is important to me. But today, I want to share the backstory of the name “Kingsbridge,” and a little bit of history from my 10 years as a photographer!
Where did “Kingsbridge” come from?
My dad is a pastor, so he’s always thinking deeply. I’m pretty sure he has a philosophy behind everything he does, including tying his shoes. I’ve always respected this about him. If he doesn’t have a reason behind why he does something, he either finds out his reason or he stops doing it. He taught me and my siblings to do the same thing. While we definitely aren’t as great at it as he is, I’d like to think we make him proud.
My dad also has a background in business. His dad owned a construction company and he spent some time working for him. He eventually started his own real estate business and worked alongside his dad and my mom for a while! During that time, he was called to the ministry and left everything to go to seminary. But he’s still passionate about business, investing, and entrepreneurial ideas. He’s always coming up with business ideas for my siblings and me!
One year, my parents started a business alongside my brother, who is a designer. I was pretty young, so I don’t remember all the details, but it involved selling t-shirts. My dad would come up with the ideas, my brother would do the designs, and my mom would keep the books. They called their business “The Kingsbridge Group.”
Something my dad has always preached is that in the New Covenant, there’s really no distinction between the sacred and secular. There’s nothing more “spiritual” about being a pastor or a missionary compared to a teacher, artist, doctor, lawyer, coach, etc. God grants each of us our own gifts and gives us our own personal callings. For some, it is to be in ministry. But for most people, it’s to a “regular” job. He also gives us other callings like mother, husband, friend, daughter. Some people may feel like second-class Christians compared to pastors or missionaries, but second-class Christians don’t exist. In Christ, there are no classes or tiers of spirituality. We all have the same calling: to glorify God in everything we do.
Because we live in a fallen world, things naturally fall apart. That’s entropy. In each of our respective callings, we have the opportunity to make things better. And as believers, we have the responsibility to influence culture instead of be influenced by it. We are not to give in to the culture around us that worships self, prosperity, sex, happiness, or some other false god but to bring the culture of heaven to earth. To make it brand new in anticipation of Christ’s return when he will make all things new. To create Kingdom culture. What is Kingdom culture? Kingdom culture is truth, beauty, justice, kindness, love, and excellence. It’s serving others, not using others. It’s building each other up, not tearing each other down.
Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Did you catch what verse 1 says? I don’t just worship God on Sundays at church. I worship God every single day by offering myself as a living sacrifice to God. Every moment of every day I worship God in my different callings.
As I pursue the interests God gives me, cultivate the gifts he’s entrusting to me, and carry out the roles he’s placing upon me, I’m fulfilling my calling. I’m offering him my living sacrifice. I’m worshipping. Not only that, as I do my job well, respond in kindness, and serve others, I’m creating Kingdom culture. And when I interact with others and show them Christ’s love, I’m building bridges for the Kingdom. Sometimes I’m acting as a bridge myself. The King’s bridge. When my dad named his business “The Kingsbridge Group,” he was saying that he’s not just working for himself. He’s working as a catalyst for the Kingdom.
The Beginnings of Kingsbridge Photography
In November 2007, I became interested in photography after I took a photograph of a sunset on the beach that enamored me. I loved every detail from the way the waves were suspended mid-crash with the light bouncing off of them, to the people walking on the beach that looked so small in comparison to the vast ocean. I thought about their stories and how each of them were unique. After that, you could always find me snapping photos of everything from people to flowers to inanimate objects.
One year later, I bought my very first DSLR camera and started practicing. I poured over photography blogs, articles, and videos. I submitted my photos into constructive criticism groups and learned everything I could. My first photography ventures were at shows of my favorite artists. At the time my dream was to be a photojournalist or a press photographer for magazine. Then, in March 2009, I started actively setting up portrait shoots. First, I practiced on my friends, then I began taking sports photos for the local swim team I was on. Eventually I graduated to senior photos and then shadowed my first wedding in December 2009.
When the time came to actually go for it and name my business, I knew that I wanted to name it something important. I wanted people to know I had a purpose. I didn’t want it to be about me, so I decided against using my name. My dad suggested using “Kingsbridge,” since they weren’t using it anymore. I loved it and ran with it. And for nearly 10 years, the name served me well and kept me focused on my purpose.
Discovering Great Education
In 2015, I was photographing everything: sports, families, weddings, portraits, you name it. Later that year I came across education content from photographers like Katelyn James, Justin & Mary, Amy & Jordan, Abby Grace, Davey & Krista, and the like. There was SO much content from REAL photographers who seemed to know exactly what I was struggling with! More than that, they actually had PRACTICAL ANSWERS. In 2016 I grew and learned SO MUCH from these amazing creators. That continued in 2017 when I got to attend The Workshop Experience by Katelyn James. It was monumental for my business. I realized that all of these photographers have one thing in common: they have personal brands.
I started thinking, “could I have a personal brand without sacrificing my values?” The answer was a resounding, “YES.” Isn’t that exactly what the ideas behind “Kingsbridge” really mean? Later this week I’ll share about why I wanted to build a personal brand, what got me there, and how I think it can be beneficial for certain (not all) businesses!!
If you stuck with me this far, THANK YOU!! I know I can be a little wordy. Also, I think in Monday’s post I promised that I would share this post yesterday. Well, unfortunately the document where I saved all of my blog posts for the week seems to have disappeared, so I had to start all over! I still want to share what’s on my heart, but it may not be 5 days in a row like I said! Sorry about that! I can’t wait to share more. 🙂