I shoot ships.
I was 19 when I sailed as a merchant seaman on a trans-Atlantic bulk carrier and shot my first serious maritime photographs. Massive walls of Atlantic Ocean were cascading over our bow. The bosun said to me, "Hey Sunshine (my nickname), there's no goin' on deck today. No cameras, no nothing, or we will never find you."
Now, though I am based near the calmer (but to the unwary, treacherous) waters of New York Harbor, I enjoy maritime assignments worldwide, producing aerial and ship-to-ship photography for cruise lines, port agencies, towing companies, and cargo operators.
Clients and other maritime professionals tell me my photographs express a love affair, a true passion for things maritime. I won't deny that. My passion for the power of the sea, the valor of the crews, and the living, breathing ships themselves drives my photography.
It all began when I was a young sailor and Sea Scout on the Chesapeake Bay. I had trouble tying my shoes, but I've been proficient at bowlines, clove hitches and eyesplices since childhood. Today, it is a privilege to contribute to maritime legacy through powerful images and to celebrate the mariners who "go down to sea in ships."
My early photography was not all maritime. During college years, I won a coveted summer internship as a staff photographer on the Washington Post. I published over 80 photos that summer with assignments atop Washington's highest television tower, in helicopters and aboard tugboats. I was specially invited to the White House, where I photographed Richard Nixon in the Oval Office.
I later completed over 800 editorial assignments for the New York Times and magazines such as DuPont, Exxon USA, Offshore, National Geographic's World, Scholastic and Smithsonian.
As a maritime photographer, my "local knowledge" of the Port of New York & New Jersey and other ports on the East and Gulf coasts adds value to clients, whether cruise or commercial cargo lines. Coupled with expertise in aerial photography and a track record of publishing in consumer and trade media, my goal is producing signature aerial and ship-to-ship photography that enhances a client's brand and mission.
My USCG-issued Master's License also provides a recognized imprimatur to port and shipboard personnel. It lets them know that I am a savvy maritime photographer who is familiar with their concerns. My Master's License ensures Homeland Security clearance, rigorous seamanship, and a higher level of safe maritime practices during a photo assignment.
On the waterfront, I also carry the Transportation Security Administration's newest port security certification, a TWIC ID, – plus my own professional safety gear - a Personal Flotation Device (PDF), hard hat, marine radio and while flying, a HEED® cannister with emergency air.
For my "busman's holiday," I am active in New York Harbor, attending USCG Harbor Operations meetings and volunteering aboard the historic Tug Pegasus and Fireboat John J. Harvey. I serve on the steering committee of New York's Working Harbor Committee, which promotes access to and public knowledge of our harbor.
If I can help you, please contact me. Your call will be most welcome, and I assure you it will bring "all hands on deck." You don't need to call me Captain. Jonathan will do.
Thank you and all best wishes.
(Photo aboard the tug Janice Reinauer, courtesy Capt. Tom Teague.)