About Jay

Jay Koppelman, photographer, backpacking in Ecuador. 2010

Jay backpacking in South America in 2010.

It wasn’t a pretty picture. My life’s purpose had gone from pursuing and realizing my dreams to living for the sake of getting through another day – dragging myself to the daily meeting at the New York City Welfare Office before all the donuts were gone. It seemed a cruel reality, so harsh and distant from the one I discovered while on a backpacking trip through Mexico when I was 18. But it was the memory of these travels, almost ten years later, that motivated my return south in 2004, and the inevitable introduction to photography that would inspire my awakening and forever change the way I saw the world.

I began the process of searching for beauty by keeping a camera with me at all times during the day, like a tool for awareness. Through this practice my eyes reopened, allowing me to be present enough to see and capture the world; my mind a blank slate for the universe to impress its will upon, my camera as my witness. Soon I wasn’t just finding beauty in laughter and sunsets, but in obscurity and hardship, too, as I examined the necessary balance between light and dark. By pairing alternating black & white and color photographs I was able to explore the disparity of two entirely different images, both of which mirrored the same quality of beauty. This diversity of moments is a testament to acceptance, not only capturing what is typically considered beautiful or what someone might want to hang on their living room wall, but what is simply a striking sign of life in all its “whateverness.”

It is the path of life, made up of difficult experiences and joyous ones, that is the journey of the through line. At times, it can be enough just to keep going and make it through to the next step. At its best, it can be a lifeline to our own bliss. We are most in harmony with the through line when we are living our dreams, moving with the universe in a way that is in accordance with our deepest truths – truths that are represented throughout this blog in quotes of inspiration, written by some of our greatest mentors who have lived and led by example. Their words act as reminders of “the big picture,” guiding us with the constant invitation to be who we are and celebrate what’s right with the world.

While I still have bad days and good days, I continue to photograph with the understanding that it’s not the pursuit of smiles that will lead to my happiness; it is the practice of celebrating the vulnerable existence of life’s beautiful, true nature…and that begins by seeing it.

– Jay Koppelman

Jay’s photos have appeared in numerous publications and have won international photography awards. He has been featured on the BBC, National Geographic and in photo books including: Endless Journeys, Delinquency in Society, La Familia, El Mexico de Los Mexicanos and the newly released The Through Line – A Journey from Darkness into Life – In Mexico.

To contact Jay, email: archonimages@hotmail.com or thethroughline@gmail.com


15 Responses to About Jay

  1. Hope says:

    Jay, this blog is amazing. It’s beautiful. Great job. Was it hard to do? I think wordpress is more professional than “blogger.com” so maybe I should switch. You’ve done a beautiful job. I love you bro.

  2. Helen GF says:

    Hola! Soy Elena, fui a tu galería hoy.
    Sólo te quería agradecer por la foto, realmente me encantó tu trabajo!
    Felicidades 🙂

    My mind a blank slate for the universe to impress its will upon, my camera as my witness. – Leí esta frase entre tu biografía y me quedé sin palabras.

    Mis mejores deseos
    Saludos, Elena.

  3. Hope says:

    Jay, I think the SHARK and FISHERMAN picture is one of my favorites. That one blows me away for some reason, and not because I’m fond of fish. I love that shot. I think I want a copy of that one. I’d like to help you plan your next book when we see each other next. I want that sharkie.

  4. Mercy says:

    Hola Jay,
    He visto tus fotografías, en realidad son estupendas, te agradezco por haber tomado en cuenta mi Pais para tu gran trabajo, pienso que es especial porque lo has tomado desde un punto de vista diferente a lo que he estado acostubrada a ver, es un trabajo muy interesante y discutible!!!
    Mercy c”,)

  5. Pingback: The Through Line

  6. Heather says:

    Jay, it was such a pleasure to meet you. You are incredibly gifted and wise. I love your photos. Keep on rockin. 🙂

  7. Sheila says:


    Such beautiful photographs and touching words to go along with them. I feel blessed that you have shared this with me. Talking with you is such a pleasure, you have great insight about life & that comes through in your pictures as well. You capture emotion and that is a fantastic gift.

    Please continue to do what you do, all the best to you.


  8. Anonymous says:

    Eres grande Jay! Tu obra habla por ti mismo. Que alegría tenerte con nosotros en este hermoso mundo. Gracias por amar en especial a Mexico. Love, Veronica.

  9. Pingback: Latin America | Photography of Mexico & Latin America

  10. Jim Coolidge says:

    Fantastic site Jay, thanks. I love the shoot pictures. Very very fine. I appreciate your eye, time and talent. Do you have a good print of San Miguel in the smoke. Terrific. It’s hard for me to put my finger on jut one thing, but your sense of timing, color, and shape is so tuned. Waiting for the next series…. Un Besso, Jim Coolidge-Ajijic

  11. Mili Mejia says:

    Me encantaron tus fotos, es especial la del lago de la cristiandad….que sigas cosechando exitos!!!!!
    Milagroa Mejía, Perú

  12. Ann says:

    I think you may be the Jay Koppelman I knew as a teenager in Maryland. I remember you as a talented actor and writer. I think I still have a couple of letters from you. Your pictures are very beautiful.

  13. The butcher of Chapala IS a COWARD HE BEAT UP MY COUSIN, HIS WIFE AND LEFT HER ON THE STREETS WITH HIS DAUGHTER NEXT HER!!!!!!!…….. Don’t believe me his name is Chuy and his wife is Lucy and they live in santa cruz de la soledad……… still not surprised call me at 951 278 3605

  14. Me encantó tu galleria, ha sido un placer visitarla, me encantaron las fotos de Loja, Ecuador, he visto al hombre en la Iglesia Catedral de Loja tantas veces, pero en tu galería me di cuenta de que a veces no miramos detenidamente las cosas.



  15. Hola Jay!!! vi tus fotos, tu trabajo es impresionante, hermoso, tenes mucho talento :-D. Fue un gusto conocerte, segui adelante, te deseo exito en todas las experiencias vivas. Siempre vas a ser bienvenido en Santa Cruz-Bolivia. Dios bendiga mucho tu vida. Abrazos 😀

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