Considering our island as one of his favorite spots, world-traveling photographer showcases its beauty at special exhibit
By Jane Bartnett
This month, the Art Ovation Hotel at 1255 N. Palm Ave. in downtown Sarasota will feature the highly acclaimed photography of John Kincaid’s landscape images of Siesta Key. Through his brilliant panoramic and aerial photography, Kincaid captures the unique beauty of our beaches.
Kincaid will be the hotel’s artist in residence from Oct. 11 to 17 at a locale known for celebrating Sarasota’s artistic community. His work will be on display in the main lobby between 4 and 9 p.m.
It will be a special opportunity to purchase Kincaid’s prints and to meet the photographer.
Through his lens, he has captured many of the world’s most beautiful tropical landscapes. His photography focuses on Siesta Key, Bora Bora in French Polynesia, Vietnam’s most celebrated beach, the private French Polynesian island of Tetiaroa, the Tahitian atoll of Rangiroa, and Santa Monica and Venice Beach in California.
Photography had always held a strong interest for the Madison, Wisconsin native. He recalled that his fascination began when at the age of 8 he discovered his parents’ Polaroid camera.
He began chronicling family life, his dog playing in the yard, and everyday life around his hometown. As time went by, his cameras and subject matter became more sophisticated as he taught himself the nuances of fine photography.
Kincaid first discovered Siesta Key while visiting the island as a high school student. He found himself immediately captivated by the pristine white sand, the colors of the water and the vastness of the Gulf.
“I’ll never forget seeing and feeling the white sand and seeing the Gulf of Mexico for the first time,” he said.
As time went by, Sarasota became home to his parents and he enjoyed visiting and heading to Siesta Key with his camera.
In college, he studied computer software engineering but decided to launch his career in the computer software business without finishing his degree. For a number of years, he ran a successful computer software consulting business.
“I’m basically unemployable,” he said with a laugh. “I do better on my own.”
After running his own successful software consultancy for 15 years, Kincaid had what he calls an epiphany. While on his honeymoon in Bora Bora, Kincaid became captivated by the island’s tropical beaches, the people and the magical images that appeared through his camera lens. In 2015, he closed his software consulting firm and in his mid-30s decided to devote himself to photography on a full-time basis.
“Life is too short to be glued to a computer screen,” he said. “Time is so important.”
A tattoo scripted in Latin on his arm reminds him of his personal philosophy that guides him daily. It reads “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.” The English translation is “I shall either find a way or make one.”
Determined to carve out a successful business in his new chosen field, Kincaid put his marketing and computer skills to work. He opened his first gallery at the St. Regis Hotel in Bora Bora, capturing the local beauty as well as underwater views of the crystal-clear blue waters and the amphibious creatures that live there.
His opened his second gallery in Vietnam at the Amanoi Resort overlooking Vinh Hy Bay in Ninh Thuan. There, Kincaid showcases the Nui Chua National Park.
Drawing on his engineering software background, Kincaid installed touchscreen kiosks at both galleries, allowing customers to contact him directly no matter where in the world he may be.
“The success of my business relies completely on tourism,” Kincaid wrote on his blog.
His tropical images can be found on his Instagram page of @kincaidgalleries, his Facebook page, and on his websites of kincaidart.com and kincaidgalleries.com. More than 20,000 followers enjoy his work.
Kincaid plans to open a third Sarasota gallery in the near future.
Regarding equipment, he relies primarily on his Fuji camera. For underwater photography he favors SONY and Fuji cameras. His dramatic aerial photos are shot from a helicopter.
Speaking about the amount of planning and time that goes into creating his art work, Kincaid recalled that while shooting a dramatic rocky beach scene in Vietnam, he worked for two hours to clean the beach of debris before creating the photos that showcase the pristine and natural beauty of the shoreline.
When Kincaid takes his place as artist-in-residence at the Art Ovation Hotel this month, his show will feature only his Siesta Key photography.
“Coming to Siesta Key feels like home,” he said.