Places to Go, Souls to See

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles”.

~Tim Cahill


“This is how memories are made, by going with the flow. “

Amanda Bynes


The person you are photographing is looking at you, and wondering if you are listening to them. Are you?

Your subject knows you are listening when there is a flow of conversation going on. Whenever there  is dialogue, there is relationship. Texting from the couch, talking on the phone, or whispering to a lover… our relationships are formed in a continual FLOW of dialogue.

Having a dialogue is a wondrous way to photograph someone you’ve met.

Dialogue goes beyond listening too. Before I make a travel portrait, I try to make sure I’m relating to my subject so she believes I care.

 We all flow from one fountain Soul.
All are expressions of one Love.

~John Muir

Soulful pictures are made when we dance, talk, and relate to others. It helps to let go of “us” and “them.” Perhaps our better portraits come when we release our predilections and our biases. After all, we are all lonely. All hungry for caring and connection.

I had extra chocolate muffins to share, and that opened up an animated chat about school, sights from the ocean, and an attempt to pick up a passing cat that was meowing nearby. Settlement Point, Grand Bahama island.


I try to tell people what I am doing and why.

I just feel better when I explain my purpose to my subjects because I think it helps me trust a photographer in the reverse situation.

With someone we just met, it fosters dialogue if I can say why I chose them to be in the picture. Answering the why builds trust.



I try to find the parents first. In many countries, I photograph children only after I ask a parent for permission. In other places, kids are more trusting of cameras. Being with kids, it helps to be low key, smile, play their game first before yours, and know a few things about their culture.

I usually say why I want someone for their portrait. Being with kids, this is sometimes impossible. It’s more effective to show than to tell, so I hand them an instant print that they just took of themselves with my camera.

These young women were high school seniors,  on a lunch break from school . We did some clowning around before this portrait was made. Location: Duncantown, Ragged Island, Bahamas.

This instant print process is a game that most kids like. With a Fuji Instax camera, any child can do an experiment. They can take a selfie and see themselves in the print as it develops before their eyes. When they get an instant print that came up out of the camera like a PopTart, kids light up. Then, I take a portrait of them.


I don’t always wait until my portrait subject is ready, but I never rush in and click rapidly, without permission. If your subject refuses a portrait, and you still want their photo, come back at another time, preferably with a gift.


The less I carry in my hands, the more I can carry in my  soul.

My travel photography gear is 1) a lightweight digital camera with just one lens, makers name blacked out 2) a Fuji Instax Wide camera 3) Fuji Instax film packs 4) shoulder bag with no labels. I dress casually in the US, more formally in other countries. Traveling, I wear no other jewelry other than a ring. I smile often, make eye contact, speak clearly and try not to surprise my subjects.

Solomon and Terrell had BMX bikes, and the chains kept coming off. We offered bike repair, a tip I learned from my colleague photographer Victor Copeland. After the chain was fixed, they wanted to be in the picture.
Solomon and Terrell had BMX bikes, and the chains kept coming off.  They clearly needed help and we offered a bit of bike repair with pliers. Bike repair before making a portrait is a tip I learned from my colleague photographer Victor Copeland. After the chain was fixed, they wanted to be in the picture.

When you have places to go, and people to see, start with your soul and theirs. Together.

The Cloud in The Tree

The Cloud in The Tree Jimages                             It is almost dawn. At the eastern horizon, a cloud meets the azure sky. The cloud’s edges glow with bright orange. At 5:30 am in Cooling Temper Bay,  I launch the kayak.

A drum beats briefly: the kayak makes a thunk, thunk, thunk as it bounces down the stern fiberglass steps before sliding into salt water.  These Bahamian waters, a hundred shades of teal in the sunlight, are still dark green.

Another break in the silence. Just north of our anchored sailboat, I hear a noise like the repetitive gurgle of a washing machine. It is the swell on the bay as it undercuts protruding rock of a small island. The cliff on its south side looks like the trunk and face of an elephant.

I paddle.

Under the kayak, dim light falls on a group of fish. They are Schoolmasters, circling a part of the Elephant island that has detached and fallen into four foot depths.

I pause. Rounding the western corner of Elephant rock, I see it is blanketed with vegetation. In the midst of this greenery, a sapodilla tree rises from the vertical cliff face. Its yellow fruits are just visible in the shade. As I point the bow southward, the sun appears below the cloud line. The sapodilla tree is outlined against the cloud. . . it whispers: “Learn to see the cloud in the tree.”

Paddling around the dark iron-shore that juts out above the swell, I see a line of bubbles. Waves meet the rock to create a current-driven bubble line. My bow also bumps this rock, causing a rock shrimp to scamper deeper into a crevice. Nearby, a turban snail, unperturbed, continues to meditate atop of the razor-sharp shore.

Tethered to my kayak life jacket strap, my camera says: “Let’s go for a swim.” I oblige.



Photo Courtesy Bentley E Smith.



Flow Photography: Turn, Turn, Turn

Jim Austin Jimages Flow Photography Turn Turn Turn Mu47

To everything turn, turn, turn,

there is a season, turn, turn, turn…”


Jim Austin Jimages Slow Photography Turn Turn Turn 2


Jim Austin Jimages Slow Photography Blog Turn Turn Turn 1

Mu 43


The world’s first photograph was Nicephore Niepce’s “View from the Window at Le Gras” (c.1826). When photography collector Helmut Gernsheim saw it, he truly believed he was only looking at a piece of polished metal that reflected back at himself.

When Gernsheim handled the object itself, touching and turning it so he could see it better, only then was the image visible to him. I can imagine Helmut turning, twisting and rotating the photo so he could make it real for himself.

We often do the same thing with photographs. If you believe there is only one orientation in which to view an image, you may be surprised.

Turn Turn Turn Jim Austin Jimages Flow Photography Mu76

Have you had someone turn your picture around from top to bottom? Perhaps they turn it clockwise, or rotate it to see it in their own way. It’s not a judgement of your photograph. Your friend just wants it that way. Each of us imposes our own order, orientation and meaning on to our image world, so it makes sense. This is why it’s important that photographs have a physical, material, objective presence.

With our hands, we often change the orientation of pictures, to make them “right.” We want our scenes to be comfortable. We turn photographs “right side up.” Curiously, left-handed people turn pictures right side up as well. Either way, we make them meaningful to us if we can’t make sense of how we see them at first. It’s much harder to do this with an image on a screen, and easier to rotate objects physically with our hands.

This is especially true for viewing abstract photographs.

Turn Turn Turn Jim Austin Jimages Flow Photography Mu 73

When I hand a 5 x 7 inch print of one of my more abstract images to friends, they often rotate it to change its orientation to the way they see it. After this happened a few times, I realized that I’d made abstract photos that could be viewed in different orientations, so I began a series called “Turn, Turn, Turn.” Here are some of the abstract images in the series.

What’s happening here? We are each unique individuals. We have habits, perceptions and cultural biases in the way see. Some of us read left to right. Others scan right to left. We may prefer the direction of light coming from the upper right, or the upper left. Some photographers have trained with large format cameras to mentally reverse an image or flip it upside down.

Bottom Line: there is no right way to see, and no strict rules in art. We see the way we want to see, what makes sense to us individually.

Thanks for your visit. Jim.

A Kind and Gentle Man: Story Corps Interview with Dennis Snyder

Dennis and Elaine Snyder, Fort Point East near Oriental North Carolina, Story Corps Interview October 2016.
Dennis and Elaine Snyder, Fort Point East near Oriental North Carolina, Story Corps Interview October 2016.


Mr. Snyder and I spoke in his home study on Broad Creek, near Oriental, North Carolina, chatting together with his wife Elaine, their dachshunds Moose and Lily to record an interview of his family, career and experiences.


Everywhen: a Provincetown Slow Down





It is August in Provincetown, Massachusetts. A brief, early-morning rain has washed the sky, leaving color fields above. I am rowing over to the wharf past Ruby and Little Red Boat II. The two of them, a skiff and a catboat, are dancing their last number before the low tide music stops, and their keels rest. The oars come up. I pause. Everywhen happens. Say what?

Everywhen is time out of time. With each breath of Cape Cod air, here in Provincetown, you are in Everywhen.

I dock the dingy and look up the slope, seeing that Captain Jack's aluminum gangplank has shifted a few inches to the south. After a tortoise-like crawl up it, then a slow tiptoe past the 1885 windows, past the Venus cabin, I pass the meditating kayaks. Crossing Commercial street, I stroll on to the grassy lane where, my breath slowing, I step in to a state of purposeless flânerie.

In the lane, the rosebushes at Jack's place seem to speak with the voices of many gardeners who have moved on. Gazing up the path, a spray of light means that sprinklers are laughing. They wet the grass and it glistens. White and pink hollyhocks line the lane and soak up the sprinkler's water. Ablaze with red, purple~blue, and yellow, the grassy path buzzes softly in the sun...bees are working to ensure it thrives until Spring.

A bougainvillea covers the foot and trunk of Nan's catalpa tree like a sock. The aroma of tiger lilies pulls me past Ken's garden of chard and rhubarb and into a disconnected, random memory. Near these lilies, Ken once told me years ago that his father, John Gregory, was a friend of Carl Sagan. One of John's photographs, of the oldest house in Provincetown, was included in the image files of the Voyager Spacecraft's Golden Record, now on its timeless journey outbound from earth.

Slowing Down in Provincetown Splashing

As I meander slowly back to the bay, a southerly breeze makes halyard lines beat time against aluminum masts. Laughter rings out from children sailing the racing club Sunfish. They are splashing each other with plastic scoops, as their hulls nearly collide in passing. My photographs too are brief collisions. The images catch glimpses, but they can't detect the scent of low tide,  nor feel the ecstasy of cool water on suddenly shoe-less feet.  Nor can a photograph preserve the sound of kids laughing in the summer sun.

The morning gone, I walk on without making photos. Why?

Walking, like sailing, is lyrical. Walking without a goal, the eternal, timeless Provincetown summer seem to possess all moments at once: the Everywhen.



Text and Photographs (c) Jim Austin 2016, all rights reserved.
Text and Photographs (c) Jim Austin 2016, all rights reserved.
Links: Article about Voyager and John Gregory's photograph by the YearRounder.

Film. Is. Alive.

We are told that film is dead. Do not believe it. Film photography is alive and well. Here, we explore the joy of small film cameras for shooting films, and learn about some new films and where to process your beautiful film images. Are you feeling negative about film? If so, let me offer an easy, fun recipe below for getting into film photography. 

film reelsHurray For Hollywood

First, lets take a short detour to look at motion picture film. Hollywood still uses film for certain movies, like The Dark Knight Rises. It wasn’t until 2012 that at least half of Hollywood films were shot digitally. While costs are pushing directors to digital production, some use motion picture film stock particularly for historical and romance genres, as it makes actors look good. By the way, in 2011, there were 90 feet of film needed for every minute of movie, so every month, America needed enough film to encircle the world just to meet its demand for movies. Our earth is 24,900 miles in circumference at the equator. 

Film and Small Cameras
Konica Autoreflex T, Konica C35, Olympus Stylus film cameras.

35mm: Not the Last Roll

Kodak honored National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry by letting him process the final roll of Kodachrome slide film in 2010. The lab that processed his roll — Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas USA — runs 1000 rolls of film through their C41, E6 and D76 chemistry every day, including color negative, slide, and B/W film in 110, 120/220 and 135 formats. That’s right, 1000 rolls of film a day in March, 2011. That adds up to over 3 million film exposures developed every day just by customers of Dwayne’s Photo. It’s easy for some to think that because Kodachrome is gone, film is too. Not so.

A Hybrid World

Instead of seeing film as competition to digital, or pitting film against digital, consider that film and digital can co-exist. Film lovers can learn from digital and digital experts can embrace film. My favorite way to combine them is to shoot film and then have the negatives scanned.

Oympus xa2
The Olympus XA2 has a clamshell design. This does away with a lens cover. It is a rangefinder. You preset focus with 3 distance icons.

While digital adds speed and flexibility, film is a vital way to experience photography at a slower pace and with the joy of mystery. The beauty of film becomes even clearer when you travel with a small, well-designed machine made for it.

There are many reasons to carry a small point-and-shoot film camera, even alongside your digital machine. It’s easy to fall in love with film when you have a camera you adore. One of the best cameras I bought this year cost me less than 5 dollars and is ideal for street and travel photography. When I was photographing a digital assignment in Florida, I found Olympus XA2 point-and-shoot film camera in a dusty box at a local Goodwill store. This little Olympus offered the promise of shooting some of my time-honored films.

The Joy of Mystery

If you have only used a larger camera, shooting with a small film camera also gives you a different tactile experience, in part because of the size difference between the two (photo below) . Grab your camera from purse or pocket, load film, raise the viewfinder to your eye, breathe, gently press the shutter, hear the soft click. Wind. Repeat. Rewind. Process yourself or send your rolls in. Now, wait and wonder: did I get the shot? Was it sharp? When the secrets on that roll of film are developed, if you are like me you may have forgotten what was even on the roll. Seeing your timeless shots can give you the urge to load more film into the camera.Olympus Stylus DSLR Size Compare

Five Joys of the Small Film Camera

  1. A small, dark-bodied camera lets photographers be unobtrusive. We’ll explore this more below.
  1. Even when your subjects are aware of it, a small dull-looking camera takes away a barrier between you and your subject that a large expensive-looking camera can create.
  1. The small film camera can make instantaneous, natural-looking images easier to take.
  1. Anticipation is a key to creating spontaneous imagery. Because the focus, aperture and shutter are all preset on a small point-and-shoot camera, I find it easier to focus only on the scene. Paying attention to the scene, not the camera, and not the settings on the camera, improves my composition.
  1. The small film camera breaks two bad habits. First, photographers can not “spray and pray,” a method sometimes used for nature action imagery with fast auto-advance digital cameras. Second, since there is no LCD screen, there is no time wasted in habitually looking at every shot immediately after capture, or “chimping”.

Shutter on The Sly

Each moment I press the red shutter button on my Olympus to photograph, I’m secretly enthralled. Perhaps it has to do with the sheer physical joy of taking pictures with it, or maybe it is the mystery, simplicity or the anonymity it brings to the process. Featherlight, its clamshell design captures images more surreptitiously than digital SLR’s with noisier shutter volumes. The whisper quiet shutter sound is well below ambient noise levels. This makes the small Olympus ideal for making images on the sly.

But do not take my word for it. Try this recipe yourself to explore the pleasures of working with a small film camera and save some money in the process.

Film Photography Recipe

Start: Find a Camera

Start a search for a film camera online or in a second hand store. There are lots of inexpensive options.  ( Money Saving Tips: I found the Olympus XA-2 for $4.23 in a Florida Goodwill store and an Agfa Isolette medium format camera for $7).

The Agfa Isolette with a roll of 120 medium format film.
The Agfa Isolette with a roll of 120 medium format film is an elegant travel solution. Sturdy, foldable and lightweight, this machine takes surprisingly good images.

Two: Tune up the Film Camera

Clean your camera. Change the batteries. If you have a classic camera and can’t locate film, check out .

Three: Practice

Run a roll of slide film through to check the shutter speeds. Slide film­ is less forgiving of over and under exposure issues. Make sure at some point that sunlight hits all the outside of the camera so you can check the processed film to see if there are any light leaks that will ruin other rolls you shoot. With processed negatives, also look for scratches on the developed film. Get comfortable with how the camera focuses. Practice so you know the minimum focusing distance. Take high contrast, low contrast and back lit shots to check the lens.

Four: Process your Film at the Store

For processing in the US, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS are all good options. Arguably, the store you go to does not matter, but your relationship with the photo staff and how consistently they monitor and change the chemistry in the processors does matter. The C41 color chemistry process is popular, because it can be used to push-process film, and most labs have it. Get a CD/DVD when you order prints; jpegs on disk give you a valuable backup for your pictures, and you can print from the disk at any kiosk. Look at the prints and compare the sharpness at the edge to the sharpness in the center of your images.

In the UK, try DS Colour Labs and Timpson. In the US, consider joining Costco, which uses Fuji Frontier and Noritsu QSS printers. For 13 cents you get a 4″ x 6″ print, 8 x 10’s are $1.49, 12” x 18” prints at Costco are $2.99 each and 20 x 30 posters are only $9. You can take them your CD with digital files for printing.

Money Saving Tip: Sharp Photo and Arlington Camera in Texas charge about $2 and $2.99 to process/develop and scan 35 mm negatives, either 24 or 36 exposures. 

Target Photo develops 35 mm negatives for only 94 cents when you get next day development. Get the Target Photo CD for $1.99. Skip the Kodak CD because their Easy Share software does not work well, in my experience. Target’s CD, with low and high resolution scans, has better quality and is less expensive than the Kodak CD.

Five: Share Your Joy

I relax when I hand my cheap, small camera to children whose language I cannot speak, if they have never seen a camera and want to try photography for the first time. Another way to share the joy is with prints. Share your beautiful pictures with your friends and clients by snail mail. Why? Consider that we save printed pictures for years, but often delete emailed images, either by not making time to view them or because we are emptying our email in box.

New Film

Not only are Fuji and Kodak keeping film alive, but new films just came onto the market. While the news of Kodachrome’s end is well known, the birth of 4 new film emulsions from Kodak have not received much press. Here’s a quick look at three new films:


Kodak Ektar 100 35, 120, 220, 4 x 5, 8 x 10

Kodak Portra 160 35, 120, 220, 4 x 5, 8 x 10

Kodak Portra 800 35, 120 (120 & 220 are medium format).

Portra is a widely used film by wedding and portrait professionals, in all formats.
Portra is a widely used film by wedding and portrait professionals, at ISO 160, 400 and 800, and in formats from 35 mm to 8 x 10.

You Press the Button

With your film camera, you capture one mysterious moment at a time. When you have a lab process your film, in each soft click of your shutter is an echo of the Kodak ad motto: “You press the button, we do the rest.” This will let you concentrate on just the joy of doing photography. So, find that F5, nuzzle that n90, cradle that K-1000, clutch that Canon AE-1, grab that G-1, let loose that Leica. Film is alive, and will be around for a long time to come.

From 1977 to 2017, my loud, heavy, blacked-out Nikon n90s film camera has been around the worl
From 1997 to 2017, my loud, heavy, blacked-out Nikon n90s film camera has been around the world and has never failed me. 

Photographer Jim Austin Jimages bio.

Tripod Truths: a Clear Vision

We hear people say:

“I don’t ever carry a tripod. ”

“Tripods are heavy, I don’t use ’em.”

A team of professional window cleaners works on a business in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.
#1. “A CLEARER VISION” A team of professional window cleaners polishes the exterior of a jewelry shop in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. (Tripod mounted Nikon D810, 50 mm focal length, ASA/ISO 31, 1/2 second, F/16).

“A tripod cramps my style.”

“I never need a tripod because with image stabilization, I can hand-hold all my slow shutter speeds.”

“I rarely use a tripod except for product shots.”

Reading the comments of a well-known online reviewer, you’d think the days of tripods had passed and the sharpness ship already sailed with all the world’s tripods aboard…

Quote: Tripods are no longer required, and actually often degrade sharpness, because shutter speeds have climbed and image stabilization and vibration reduction reduced the need for slower speeds. Sadly, many people still look like idiots using tripods with digital cameras in daylight.These guys are throwbacks to the 1950s, or the early 2000s.”

Typically, we hear debates about sharpness and vibration reduction (VR, OS, IS) whenever tripod use comes up for discussion. These exchanges miss the point and obscure deeper truths.

The point is this: there are other more relevant reasons than sharpness for all of us, women and men, to get into the habit of using our tripods. For many pros, a tripod is vital for creative reasons.

Perhaps I enjoy looking like an idiot and am just a throwback to the 1950’s, but I made the image above with a digital camera mounted on one of my trusty tripods. Why did I use a tripod?

Three truths about using a tripod…

Truth Number One: CONCEPT.

A key reason to love the tripod is that it can help improve our conceptual thinking. Tripods get us to slow down and ponder composition, and also change the way we approach our image concepts.

For instance, making the image above, before I ever touched my gear, I had a simple idea.

How can I show the window washers at their work? To get a sense of motion across, I thought, one person could be shown motionless, as a visual anchor, while the rest were moving. The woman who is not in motion was the boss and I talked with her for awhile to get permission and describe my goal.  I asked if she would like a copy of the final image, since she was the spatial anchor point in the composition. The movement of washing windows  was the visual idea.

So, the image above was a multiple exposure, with registered frames layered in Photoshop. Tripods are also useful for product, macro, architectural, film cameras with slow ASA film, time lapse, exposure blending (HDR) and long exposure photography.

Left side of the photograph at top.
#2 A closeup, enlarged for detail of the visualmanchor, the person is still, not moving in the scene.

Truth Number Two: CONSISTENCY.

Time is a central concept in my work. For some images, a sense of time passing is the main concept. For others, motion implies time’s passing. To record the movement of the window washing team, I took many images as they reset their ladder and worked their way to finish their cleaning.

A hand-held camera would not have worked here. From across a busy street, just two feet above the ground, braced against a fence, my tripod kept the camera motionless. The tripod’s stability let me consistently layer multiple frames together for the final image after importing and processing in Adobe Lightroom. The camera did not move, keeping all the frames lined up in register when they were stacked in to Photoshop’s layers palette.


Let’s return to the idea in bold above. Why two feet off the ground? To compose the scene, I first walked around without any gear to frame the concept in my mind. The image would include the street and the top of the windows, and a low camera position would be needed to include a meaningful angle on the action. With this perspective in place, I then set up the tripod and extended just its upper segments to put the camera a couple feet up.


1) Before you set up your tripod, walk around the area, look for good angles and think about the composition.

2) Look for a different perspective and camera position. Once you have a composition in mind, only then set up your tripod and camera.

Turn off image stabilization. My Nikon lens VR was turned off (I use VR often, hand-held, as I live aboard a sailboat). Why turn off image stabilization? Image stabilization would try to compensate for camera movement that is not present in the shot above, due to a sturdy tripod setup for the camera and lens.

3) Get into a habit of Vision First, Tripod Second. Make a mental habit of letting your frame dictate where you place the tripod, not the other way around. Let vision, concept and creative process upon which your tripod rests.

4) Let me illustrate with a picture from a bird photography outing at Ding Darling Wildlife refuge on Sanibel Island in Florida. Guess which tripod I am using?

To avoid capturing the same bird grouping from the same angle, my tripod is low down, which gave me a different background to an image of a flock of birds.
#3 Don’t play Follow the Crowd: To avoid capturing a scene from the same angle, my tripod is lower down, which gave me a different background to an image of a flock of birds.
Edward Steichen
Edward Steichen

Think of your tripod as your best three legged friend. Like a dog, go everywhere with it. One famous photographer did just that. Edward Steichen had a beagle named Tripod. Around his home, Umpawaug House in Redding Connecticut, Steichen roamed with his beagle. The dog licked the hands of famous photographer friends who joined Steichen: Harry Callaghan, Joseph Karsh, Henri-Cartier Bresson and Paul Caponigro. Tripod, the beagle, sat near Steichen’s wooden and Gitzo tripods as the photographer captured the hollows, woods and rocks of the Connecticut countryside.

Photographer Jim Austin Jimages bio.



Water Flow: Saving the Bay One Stroke at a Time

How are Americans protecting their water resources?

By swimming. In Rhode Island, a group of swimmers churns and flows smoothly through the 70 degree water.

Steve Schwartz and his Barrington swim group are training for the annual Save the Bay swim. The event raises over 250k for Save The Bay, and covers 1.7 nautical miles, across Narragansett Bay. It is held annually. This year, on August 13th, Saturday at 9:15 am, over 500 swimmers will stroke their way from Newport Navy Base, Newport to Potters Cove, Rhode Island (

Save the Bay swimmer, Barrington Rhode Island.
A fast swimmers group trains year round for the Save the Bay Swim, shown here in Barrington, Rhode Island.
Text and photos Copyright 2016
Fast swim group in mid-60’s degree water. All text and photographs Copyright 2016 Jim Austin Jimages.
Copyright 2016 Jim Austin Jimages.
Copyright 2016 Jim Austin Jimages.


Stuart J in training in Barrington Rhode Island for the Save the Bay swim.



Save the Bay  at, seeks to protect and improve Narragansett Bay. Their vision is a fully swimmable,  healthy Narragansett Bay, accessible to all. Across the USA, from San Francisco to the Chesapeake, dedicated folks are helping to save their bays and waterways, one smooth stroke at a time.

Thanks for your visit. Jim

Photographer Jim Austin Jimages bio.










Mystic Seaport: A Timeless Place?

Captain Troy Sears and crew dock at the boathouse dock in Mystic Seaport on Sunday afternoon, with a tour group aboard, America is a replica of the schooner that won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s “100 Guinea Cup” race around the Isle of Wight in 1851. Renamed the America’s Cup, the trophy was successfully defended by the United States against all challengers until 1983 and remains the longest winning streak in sporting history. America owner and captain Troy Sears is taking the vessel on an extensive tour of the East and Gulf coasts
Yacht America and crew dock at the boathouse dock in Mystic Seaport on Sunday afternoon, with a tour group aboard. America is a replica of the schooner that won the Royal Yacht Squadron’s “100 Guinea Cup” race in 1851. America owner and captain Troy Sears is taking the vessel on an extensive tour of the East and Gulf coasts. Copyright 2016 Jim Austin Jimages.

We live in at least four dimensions. Space has three. Our fourth dimension, Time, sweeps us along in flow photography. Since the dawn of photography, we’ve made great advances in measuring time. In photography, Time has another quality. We experience a sense of Timelessness when we hold certain photographs. Yet, how can we measure timelessness?

Often, we use metaphors.

If time is a line stretching out both directions, perhaps bending the line into a circle means timelessness is the hole inside the circle. In art, we use the terms “universal” and “meaningful” as descriptors of timelessness.

Groping an elephant while blindfolded is perhaps another metaphor for the idea of timelessness in photography.

Professor James Wright Mystic Flow Photography blog Jim Austin Jimages

The elephant we are touching may have just walked a mile and its beating heart eludes our grasp. Blindfolded, we use our intuition to sense the heart beat. Likewise, we can not touch timelessness, yet we use the concept intuitively for aesthetic and poetic reasons.

However, walking into Mystic Seaport for a photo series, I was not thinking of art, or the universal. I was pondering how to portray timelessness in specific compositions, trying to touch the concept with my camera like a blindfolded man touching an elephant. Making and framing images, the final product  may imply and suggest the timeless, but in framing a photograph one  first tries to get express dimensions in a two dimensional camera frame.

There is no way yet, outside of science fiction, to rearrange time. As photographers, we can rearrange space. Combining six frame together into a panorama, or bending the edges of the frame, for instance.

Mystic Whale Boat Bermuda Renegade Flow Photo Jim Austin Jimages

Returning to the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut for the past few years, the flow photography experience at times feels timeless. But this experience exists only in the perceptual here and now.  Perceiving timelessness, we try to hold onto the event, but this  belies the fact that all things change and pass. When all these things we photograph, like us, are gone, then what? Will the photographs still be timeless?

America Flag Flow Photo Blog Jim Austin Jimages
Copyright 2016 Jim Austin Jimages.


Captain and the Printer
Copyright 2016, Jim Austin Jimages.


James Bass Mystic Flow Photo Blog Jim Austin Jimages
Copyright 2016, Jim Austin Jimages.


Jason and Morgan Flow Photo Blog Jim Austin Jimages
Copyright 2016, Jim Austin Jimages.


Mast Men LA Dunton Mast Preparation Mystic Seaport Flow Photo Blog Mystic
Copyright 2016, Jim Austin Jimages.


Yacht America Captain Troy Sears
Copyright 2016, Jim Austin Jimages.

We may view photographs as timeless, of course. As a maker of images, I avoid decribing my images as timeless. Stating that one’s photographs transcend time is like trying on the fallible, melting wings of immortality, hoping to live beyond death. If I photograph only in hopes for a continued existence after I depart, I live in a fantasy that allows me to produce – not good work- but mediocre imagery.

Timelessness in photography is best left to you, the viewer. Is the image a “timeless moment?” Is the appearance of the image  considered “timeless” because we cannot tie the image to an actual look, even though we can trace the photo being taken back to a certain time and place? You be the judge.

Thanks for your visit. Jim,

Copyright 2016 Jim Austin Jimages.
Copyright 2016 Jim Austin Jimages.

Twenty Soulful Photo Quotes

#1. “SOULfies, not selfies”

2. “For this photograph my ASA was attention, skill, attention.”

3. “A camera makes a poor casket. I cremate mine from time to time.”

4. “Stop down. Slow down. Let go the God of maximum speed and aperture and celebrate the angels of attention. ”

5. “Black and white is a valley of forms, color the peak of feelings. Go hiking.” Continue reading Twenty Soulful Photo Quotes

Mindful experience of Flow for Creative Photography..