Meet Friend of JAM: Johnie Gall

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We’ve had the pleasure of working with writer, photographer and producer Johnie Gall in many capacities. The latest being on a project with luxury Airstream destination AutoCamp in Russian River where she was able to spend a few days relaxing with her husband amidst traveling for his four month sabbatical.

So, who is Johnie Gall? Some may know her for her presence on Instagram as Dirtbag Darling, where she pairs her beautiful photos with life musings, big questions and ever-growing knowledge on how to be a warrior for the Earth. Some know Johnie for her role as the new Digital Content Editor at RANGE. Despite her clear ability to do it all, we like to think of her as a friend and it’s a pleasure to tell you a bit more of what she’s about:

Johnie and husband, Marlin, at AutoCamp in Russian River

Johnie and husband, Marlin, at AutoCamp in Russian River

Where in the world are you right now, and what are you there for?

I’m living in a town called Wanaka on New Zealand’s south island for a few weeks before heading to Indonesia, followed by the North Island of NZ. My husband is on a sabbatical from work, so we’re using this time to travel and learn as much as we can about plastic pollution and corporate sustainability — both topics we’re curious about and hope to have some tangible takeaways from.


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

Greenland, Mongolia and Tasmania have been at the top of my list for a long time. I like the idea of being somewhere really remote and challenging.

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Besides being your career, how does writing and photography impact your life?

I’ve been writing since I was five years old; writing is so ingrained in my identity I’d have a hard time distinguishing how it’s impacted my life because it is my life. It’s informed most decisions I’ve made, because I think I’m always looking for stories in what I do. Photography is something my dad always loved, so I’ve been around cameras for a long time, but I’ve only taught myself how to use a camera within the past few years. It’s been a slow and sometimes frustrating process, but it’s given me another way to tell stories, opening up opportunities to travel and document things I maybe wouldn’t have been asked to write about.


Having worked on a few collaborations with JAM Collective clients, what stands out to you about your recent experience with AutoCamp?

AutoCamp was my first experience shooting a resort of any kind! It didn’t feel like a job at all. Sometimes client shoots can be stressful and high pressure, but the atmosphere was so welcoming and peaceful that I was actually able to *gasp* relax for a moment. I hate to use the oft-overused “authentic” to describe that collaboration, but it felt like such a natural fit for my lifestyle and style of shooting.

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This year, what has been the most impactful project you’ve been involved in? Why?

At the very beginning of the year, I shot and helped produce a 250-mile relay run bridging Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in partnership with two of my best friends, Greg Balkin of Yeehaw Donkey and producer Andy Cochrane. We were frustrated about the recent declaration that the Trump administration would be rolling back federal protection on this land, but we didn’t know what we could do about it. So, we just decided to do something. That something turned out to be gathering 17 friends in the desert and running across the Monuments to raise awareness about the complexity of public lands policy and the importance of these spaces to a diverse group of people. Patagonia ended up showing the film in a few shops, it was included in a handful of festivals and it was distributed by a ton of brands, and we heard from people all over the country who were moved by the project and wanted to get involved. For me, it was a testament to the fact you don’t have to be a CEO or famous athlete or celebrity to impact awareness of something important — you can wield the tools at your disposal, whatever those are.


Do you have any other upcoming creative projects you can tell us about?

As I mentioned before, I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about plastic pollution from people working on the frontlines of the global issue: artists, researchers, aquarium curators, NGO founders, surfers, the CEOs of small brands. Right now I’m just leaning into curiosity, so I don’t have a specific project in mind at this point, but I do want to give some critical thought to how I could be a conduit for a lot of what I’ve learned. I have so many talented friends in this industry, it would be a waste not to bring them together and shepherd them into a project!


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What is the best piece of advice you’ve received lately?

That it’s okay to just do things without a goal in mind. That it’s good to just learn for the hell of it, or pick up a craft you might suck at, or write a novel about space cowgirls and then delete it because it’s terrible.  I’ve always been extremely goal-oriented, but sometimes that means writing the end of a script before you even know what the story is about. So, I’m trying to take a few deep breaths this year, reflect on what I’ve accomplished already, and only pursue the projects and goals I really care about. You know...chill.