I’m thrilled to share my first magazine cover! Read the full article below.
The light must be right.
If it’s not, photographic artist Jonah Allen won’t bother taking his camera out of the bag.
And light is just the beginning. Other elements must align if Allen is to arrive at the kind of image that he might wait months to capture: tide, wind, wave height, wave interval and patterns in sand made by water.
To all of that, add tannic outflow from a dune lake entering a crystalline Gulf, and the shot just makes Where Waters Meet, a book that Allen is compiling.
Allen has carved out a tightly defined niche for himself in South Walton County, selling large-format prints of water in motion.
I’ll put it to you this way: He photographs energy.
“I am always photographing things that are very, very ephemeral,” Allen said. “They exist for a very little bit of time, and then they are gone.”
Allen grew up in Atlanta, landlocked hours away from saltwater. But he discovered an affinity for surfing as a boy vacationing with his family in Seaside and was, as some say, “ruint.” Never again would the city that once adopted the motto, “People Seem to Like It Here,” feel like home.
He attended the University of Georgia in Athens where he studied marketing, art and music business and worked for Red & Black, the campus newspaper, as a photographer focused on concerts.
Still, big water pulled on him, and after college, he traveled the world surfing for a year, making stops in Hawaii, Chile, Peru and Bali. Off Kauai, he was overwhelmed by a 20-foot wave that had looked manageable when he first spotted the break a half-mile off. In South America, he encountered subsistence fishermen and dramatic evidence of sea-level rise. In Indonesia, he gained an appreciation for the ancient rice-paddy irrigation system called “subak.”
All along the way, the chance that he would ever settle down away from water evaporated.
In December 2017, he moved to South Walton County from Georgia, resolved to make his living as a photographer.
“There are three ways you can learn,” Allen said. “By failing, from books and from mentors. I have a friend and mentor, David Darby, who owns a recording studio. He told me never have a fallback plan because if you do, you will fall back.”
Julia S / Client in Canada
"Jonah’s work is like having a window to the ocean and triggers those same feelings.
The boldness of his photograph’s scale immediately grabs your attention and then the details and the colours pull you in. Each photo insists you slow down, imagine being there where land meets water and experience the transformative power of water.
We feel so fortunate to be able to have some of Jonah’s work in our home. His passion is evident in both the photos he creates and in our interactions when deciding to purchase his art and in dealing with him.
The quality of the pieces we chose is amazing and we look forward to adding more of Jonah’s work to our collection in the future."