m/v Rena, port of Vancouver

Flying above harbors, creating powerful images of cargo ships, cruise ships, tugboats, cable layers, warships and barges reflects a choreographic and navigational process. By bringing seafaring familiarity; knowing one’s subject and solving aerial image production with navigation and maritime savvy, the privilege to produce images in this realm is awesome.


Creating images however is a life process.  Like Zen in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, photography is a process similar to the larger truths as Boris Stanislavsky’s book “On Acting,” suggests as well.  Both books read during the MFA orientation at RIT.

In the short term it is immediate exploration, communication, and self expression. In the long term, it is integrity, craft, thinking outside the box, hopefully expertise and artistry, surrounding one’s self with like minded folks; as well as a business which includes the elements of any business including social media, trends, ethics, marketing, contracts, solving problems in short: a way to earn a living and discovering the larger world.  Foremost, it is building relationships, bringing passion to one’s life and more importantly respecting and championing the passion of others.


While I’m unlikely to wrap myself in “granola” thinking, we often get wrapped up in the mechanics of being a photographer. Whether a photojournalist deductively making sense from chaos, or a studio photographer, inductively building an image from the ground up, we are artists, musicians of the visual. Photography happens to be the keyboard.  It is a privilege to fully engage ourselves in a process with what seems to be a funny black box hanging from our neck.  If we are lucky we engage others.

After all, it is others…that matter.

Captain Jonathan Atkin