a creative encouragement project by Sarah J. Kass

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jeremy Shaw: Awkward Silence

Recently at a friend's 22nd i was lucky enough to meet Jeremy Shaw, photographer, and the man-behind-the-lens for Awkward Silence. After stealing one of his limited-edition business cards (there are only around ten printed copies of each per picture) He was kind enough to let me ask a couple of questions about his work, and give us a little insight into what being a fully fledged photographer is really like.

Ok, so your work is amazing!
Tell us, what inspired you to first pick up a camera?

I was inspired early at high school in art, i was always fascinated with the dark room and film. There was something about developing the film and then the images, it was like unwrapping a birthday present. I only shot in black & white for the first year I picked up a camera, because I had full control over the images.

How long have you been interested in pursuing a career in photography,
and what keeps your shooting?

After high school I attended the National Art School, and it was there that I knew I wanted to make photography my career. It's not easy working as a freelance photographer, you have to push yourself everyday and stay on top of it all yourself. It's not just shooting and processing images, it's a business and as such you have other factors that are equily important. Things like marketing, accounting, promotion and client relations all play key roles in keeping your photography career going. But it's also the freedom to create something unique everyday and to share it with the world in my own style.

How would you describe the style of your work,
and your attitude to photography?

I don’t like to limit myself to one style of photography, I use a wide range of techniques to create new images and different feelings. I think that some photographers sell themselves short with digital photography, you hear of people shooting for free or little to nothing and they don't understand how this effects the greater market. Event & Band photography especially is one such area where some people under cut themselves, and let others control there work. You can compare photography in Australia to "Cowboys in the Wild West", there are not may rules to the game and anyone can be under-cut or lose a job to a new or ill-experienced person. That's why client relations are so important and a major part of running a business.

Run it past us; polaroid, dark room or digital?

Well I still use my polaroid camera from time to time, and more with my film cameras, but for the most part its digital for 80% of my work. They all have a place in the photography world and anyone who says polaroid or film are dead is truly wrong. I compare it to oil painting for painters, it is a longer process and cost more, but you get an amazing piece of work & its the same for polaroid or film. There is something about both that digital can't reprocess. The great thing that digital has over them is speed and control, which is great when a client is on a job with you, or wanting a quite turn around.

What leads you in choosing location and subjects?

I have a book that I keep with me most of the time, that I put ideas and locations in. I'm always looking for unique locations for my own personal work; places that are untouched or hard to get to. It's not easy to do with more and more of them being ripped up and rebuilt, but I still have a few hidden ones. Choosing a location or subject comes down to subject matter and what message i'm trying to convey, I might scout out 5 locations and shoot 5 subjects before I get the right one.

If you had free range on any model, place and equiptment,
what would the resulting shoot look like?

Thats a hard question, i've always wanted to use an old Empire State camera, its a large format wooden camera made in 1894 and there aren't many left in the world. As for a model or place I could shot anyone and go anywhere.

Your greatest piece of advice for amateur photographers out there?

Keep shooting, have your camera with you at all times and just have to keep looking around and you well see something unique everywhere.

Check out more of his photography here .

Thanks so much Jeremy. Can't wait to see your upcoming work!

P.s. Totally snuck into a Shaw original. Win!