Archive for the ‘JonOBlog-Post’ Category

A Beautiful Evening

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014


Thanks to everyone who attended the opening on Friday. It was a beautiful evening. I’m sure Andrea loved that amazing people: friends, family, and strangers got together to cry and laugh in her honor.

For those who could not make it, you can check out this website that I put together to augment the gallery show via QR code. It contains the 12 images from the show and their accompanying quotes…there is also audio connected to some too.


The exhibit will be up for the month of May. Gallery hours are Sundays from 2pm – 4pm.

The City Paper also published an article about the event:

Gallery Opening – May 2 – Digital to Analogue

Thursday, April 17th, 2014


Hi Punk Rock Mommy readers. It’s been a few years since anything has been posted to this site. I know that some of you still find your way back here to reread Andrea’s words. Apologies for times that the site has been down. I try to keep tabs on it, but things happen: spam, hacks, server issues. I plan to keep it around, but there are other ways to honor her memory.

For those who may have stumbled upon here due to art show promotion. This site was created a few days after Andrea Collins Smith was diagnosed with cancer. She wrote eloquently and intimately as she strove to fully live while her body was dying. This blog went viral for awhile and had an international readership. To read the entirety of her posts go here. To start from the beginning go here.

I want to let everyone know that there will be a gallery opening on May 2 that will feature photos I took with Andrea and the family in 2007-2008, some of which have never been seen before. I shot over 1200 images and I worked with a photo editor to determine ones that best tell the story. The images will be paired with Andrea’s writing. The photos are all printed by myself in a darkroom on fine art, archival paper. There will also be a new video and a video installation.

Here’s the details…

Punk Rock Mommy Gallery Opening
Friday May 2, 2014
6 – 9pm
F&N Gallery
2007 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia PA 19144

In addition to the gallery show a book is in the works that will combine Andrea’s writing with my photography. Andrea’s final request to me was to complete the book project and try to get it published. I’m finally pulling it together. Some layouts will be revealed at the gallery show. Stay tuned for more details on how you can help make this happen. I’m excited to translate the story from pixels to a format that is tactile. Andrea was a tactile person. She would touch you. I think the book will its textures and weight will convey Andrea’s personality more effectively than the glowing pixels of the blog. I have been working with editors and designers for the past few months. It’s going to be good. More about the book project soon…

I hope to see you on May 2. Please spread the word!



here’s a teaser image from the darkroom…


The exhibit represents a transition from the digital to the analogue; from the ephemeral to the fixed. I printed this new set in a darkroom on fine art, archival paper from 35mm film negatives that were struck by light reflecting off of Andrea and the family. Each frame bears a physical imprint of a moment in time. There is a physical connection between Andrea and these prints.

Despite the blog being digital, Andrea was an analogue person, she was complex and her personality was nuanced. She was also tactile. The analogue process of rendering these physical objects exemplifies her vibrancy, warmth, and life. The chemical process also mirrors the chemical process her body endured during her treatment. As Andrea touched her family, friends, and community the hope is that this tangible exhibit will extend her touch and her legacy.


Shout out to Rowan University and photography Professor Keith Adams for generously allowing me access to the darkroom!

Memories – A New Project – You are invited to participate

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Punk Rock Mommy Memories…
Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 4.55.01 PM


Not long after Andrea died, I had a dream. I was at a sparely populated party and Andrea appeared in the room. No one else seemed to notice. She came up to me and said that she wanted to say goodbye and to acknowledge how awkward our last interaction was. We talked about how awkward death can be and how no one really knows what to do. She told me that she didn’t have much time, because she needed to get back to her grave before her body started to fall apart. I said that I thought she had been cremated. She told me that she only wanted people to think that because she wanted to avoid a big dramatic episode at the site. I laughed. She gave me a big hug and then she went away.

I often dream of Andrea. I think of her when I am alone printing in the darkroom at three in the morning and other random times. I didn’t know what we were getting into when we first started this project. I thought this was going to be a weird chapter in our lives that we would move on from and think back on. Even now my rib cage feels like it is shrinking.

I am working on a project that started out as a pretty personal project using images and sounds that I gathered over the last two years, a mingling of images, voices and stories. I am realizing that the story is much more than just me, but that it involves an entire community. I would like to incorporate other voices and memories into the project as well.

Here is a link to a rough prototype of the project just to give you an idea: http://punkrockmommy/ The reason for all of the layers is that I want to create sense of something that is there, but it is fluid, something you can’t quite grasp. Maybe a piece like this will have value to others – maybe not. Just to explain the interface…you click on the stars to move through the piece…the mouse controls the audio levels (there is sound!) and the star at the top left will make the piece go into fullscreen.

Anyway, I’m open to any feedback you may have. I hope that this can be another way of honoring her. Even if you don’t want to record yourself talking feel free to comment on this post and write your memory there. And yes, a book based on the blog may be happen as well, but not just yet…

Peace to you,

Direct Cinema

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Hey crew,

It’s been awhile, but I just wanted to mention a new project we have going on. For the next couple weeks I will be hanging out with Andrea and Company with a video camera and try to capture some of the special moments that happen in this little house. I’ve have had a wild couple of months and haven’t been around quite so much, I realize that the best way for me to be around is to tie myself to a creative project. The photos are still happening, but I am slow and way too particular when it comes to processing, scanning, cleaning up dust and adjusting tones…so for this side project it will be a day of shooting, quick editing and there ya go…a little more dynamic, maybe lacking a bit aesthetically, but these are special moments and that’s what matters. It’s been an honor to share in all of this. So, see the above post for: Punk Rock Mommy – Part 1 …



Who’s that man behind the curtain?

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007

Jon and Andrea

Hi…I’m Jonathan Olshefski aka Jon-O….The above photo is courtesy of Tucker Collins…he can tell you how hard it is to get a sharp focus when shooting stopped all the way open in low-light situations…but that’s me and Andrea…it’s funny after talking to Andrea about the Chemo photos and how she doesn’t like the shirt she’s wearing and to see me wearing a “got game?” t-shirt….I don’t think of myself as a guy who wears stuff like that, but I do….alot….I just looked down and I’m actually wearing the same shirt right me and my cheesy shirt are just gonna tip toe out of this photo and get the camera back from Tucker….

Ummmm. Usually I just post on here to inform you guys of new photos, but awhile ago Andrea asked me to post as well and to explain why I am participating in this “project”. As I was preparing the last batch of photos for flickr (which i’ll explain in a moment) I was just overwhelmed by the amount I love this family…we have so much fun together…Andrea and I also have a similar sense of humor….we enjoy the irony…she says this is “our project, but it’s her cancer”….

Anyway….my deal….I just want to tell stories and I want to be around people and connect to people while they are living their lives….documenting allows me to do that….I’ve gotten to meet so many types of people and experience so many different types of things because I can press a button that lets light into a dark box….it’s the easiest thing….press a button. pull a lever, move a little, press a button, pull a level…..anyway, I started hanging out with recovering addicts in the summer or 2005 and photography was my gateway in, it has changed my life….for more go here:

…so, when I heard that Andrea was sick I felt this urgency to document her and record her..because she is so fabulous….and like alot of you I just wanted to be around her… I asked if we could do this project together….it has been amazing…..I just love being around and it feels good that Andrea is enjoying the process and it actually has turned into such a positive thing….thanks to all of you….and for me personally it is a great comfort…..when I am around the family I am so happy….it’s when I’m away that heaviness sets in….I hope that this can be a comfort and an encouragement to all of you…’s hard, but the feeling that we are not alone is so incredible….there are times when we’ve been hanging out that I’ve been shaking, knots twisting in my stomach…..but that discomfort is something I am sharing with people I really care about and in that sense it is so good…this crappy situation….this “cancer swindle” is binding people together…there’s something bigger than us going on and I can feel it and I can feel it through the laughter and the tears…..if you can sense God somewhere then chase after it….I sense God with this family…’s as simple as that….it is an honor to share these moments with Andrea and Kelly and my younger friends who happen to be their kids….I count it as such a privilege and I am so thankful for the trust and encouragement that I have received….so…that’s why I am doing this…..I want to share with my friends….and I happen to like pressing buttons….

Peace to you all…..we are in this together…..if I could sum up this experience, this blog, everything… in one word (and this word is for all of you) that word is: “together”


ps I added some more fun family images… new photos! ..and I pulled stuff up from the archive….punk show at CBGBs and Wedding photos….I’d elaborate more, but I feel like I’m talking too much right now….the punk show was in 2004! I can’t believe it was that long ago….ok, I’m done

This is the beginning…

Monday, May 21st, 2007

This site was created in order enrich, enlighten and entangle the community that surrounds Andrea Collins Smith as she is faced with inflammatory breast cancer. Hopefully, it will serve as a hub where friends, family and supporters can walk alongside Andrea, Kelly and the kids; offer support and encouragement – basically, stay connected.

As various needs and opportunities present themselves we will post information here. This space will act as a real-time documentary of Andrea’s story and process. In time we will add photography, video, and audio to accompany any blogging Andrea and her family wishes to do…it’s a process.

Here is the conclusion to an email Andrea sent out last week:

“Thank you all so much for all your support. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have such wonderful loving friends. I feel a bit anxious. Emotionally though most of the time I feel at peace about the whole thing. God is good. I love you all so much. Don’t worry about me. And don’t be afraid. Its going to be okay. Love Andrea”

I hope that this virtual space, in some small way, will mirror the encouragement, enthusiasm and strength that Andrea exudes…