Bio

Writer

Explorer

Activist

Human ecologist

Austin studied writing, natural sciences, and conservation at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Human Ecology in 2018.

His senior thesis examined conservation in the American West. While traveling through Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, he interviewed scientists, ranchers, volunteers, and others about wildlife and conservation policy, environmental history, and community.

His stories and photographs have been published in Maine Today, Ellsworth AmericanMount Desert Islander, Enumclaw Courier-Herald, New Day Northwest and the newsletters and online media of College of the Atlantic, Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Heart of Ellsworth, Ellsworth Green Plan, and Enumclaw Plateau Farmers’ Market.

He grew up in Enumclaw, Washington, and enjoys spending time with family in Oregon. Hobbies include baking sourdough, birding, reading, traveling, and foraging.

Awards, Exhibitions, & Presentations

2014

  • Photography:Washington State Fair, Puyallup, WA
  • The Gloria Barron Prize Finalist
  • Prudential Spirit of Community Bronze Award

2015

  • Washington State Honors Award
  • President’s Volunteer Service Award
  • Photography: “Shared Experiences” City Hall Gallery, Enumclaw, WA (Solo)
  • Photography: Spectrum Creative Alliance Gallery, Enumclaw, WA
  • Photography: Arts Alive! Gallery, Enumclaw, WA
  • Drawing: Green River College, Auburn, WA

2016

  • Human Ecology Forum Lecture, “Creating Positive Environmental Change,” College of the Atlantic, Bar Harbor, ME
  • Hartzog-Kauffman Endowment Award
  • Photography: Dorr Museum of Natural History, Bar Harbor, ME

2017-2019

  • 2017 – Maine Space Grant “Surveying Breeding Passerines of Great Duck Island”
  • 2018 – Photography: Exploration Center at Frenchman Bay Conservancy, Hancock, ME
  • 2019 – “Woods and Waters of Lamoine” Guided Group Tour
  • 2019 – Photography: Choco-Latte Cafe, Bar Harbor, ME (Solo)

Freelance photography, writing, design, and guiding

Artist Statement (Photography, 2017)

As long as I can remember I have loved nature.

My mother recalls three-year-old Austin rescuing earthworms from puddles after rainstorms and running around the house turning off lights to “save the penguins.” Before elementary school, documentaries featuring lion prides and herds of giraffe made me dream of becoming a world-traveling wildlife photographer.

As a teenager, I led my parents on a grand summer vacation visiting national parks in Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, California, and Oregon. I’ll always remember how I felt exploring Yellowstone National Park for the first time—like every footstep deserved to be placed with a gentleness and respect for hallowed ground.

The desire to be involved with nature has always stuck with me, and my personal and professional goal in life is to protect the natural world.

The inspiration for my photographs comes from being in nature. Observing nature brings me peace, cultivates patience, and stimulates positivity.

Because each piece of nature is inherently beautiful—the colors of a songbird’s feathers, the textures of burgeoning clouds, or the glimmering morning light off the ocean—a kind of nature photography that seeks not to take away from these natural elements, but to simply emphasize their beauty and combine it with stories that inspire understanding, love, and action—that’s the kind of nature photography that can change the world.

Photography can capture the natural environment unlike anything else, preserving moments with more precision and detail than other media. In both a fortunate and unfortunate sense, photographing life’s intricate wonders is especially important in a rapidly changing world.

Within digital photography I challenge myself both technically and artistically, with time-lapse, super macro, telephoto, panoramas, digital infrared, and more—techniques that allow me to find new and dynamic ways to present my experiences to the viewer while always seeking to provide truthful and ethical representations of my subjects.