Bryant Austin Statement

Artist Statement
I am mostly known for creating life-size portraits of whales with an emphasis on the inquisitive expressions of their eyes. Everything I create expresses awareness that every photograph taken throughout history is a self-portrait of the cosmos. It is this feeling of connectedness that I seek to convey through every photograph.

My new work reveals the sun’s surface in vivid detail, as viewed through Earth’s varied atmospheric states. Dramatic landscape elements anchor the experience to challenge our perceptions of reality and our place within an infinite void. The process is complex and often requires the use of three telescopes equipped with infrared cameras and a monochrome video camera with scientific filters. This equipment is often backpacked in the Sierras to capture Sun/Earth interactions that occur only a few moments each year.

I study the fall of the sun’s photons on Earth, noting how they concentrate at the solar surface, then incrementally disperse away from the solar disk. I am keen to explore photon interactions on Earth with subjects in close proximity to the sun’s light.

Following my father’s death in 2015 and a near death experience of my own a few months later, I felt compelled to explore the oneness I felt with whales through other subjects. My creative journey revealed an avenue for deeper connection to the cosmos, personal transcendence, and peace of mind.

This creative practice has led me to conclude that the disconnection we experience - from one another, from nature, and the universe - is an illusion. Closer to home, this awareness has challenged me to explore ways to deconstruct the divisions we create between subjects found in nature and contemporary photography.

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