Four Mile.

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009.

In an effort to get out of the house and soak up some sunshine, I found myself photographing some friends bouldering outside of Buena Vista over the weekend. Whenever I am somewhere new, different I am almost instinctively drawn to explore the surrounding landscape, be it urban or natural.

The trademark of any good journalist I suppose would be curiosity followed by dedicated observation. I had only moments to spend with Chad and his climbing crew before heading back into town, but this single image of ritual preparation for the climb summed up that afternoon amongst friends. The white chalk takes the sweat and slip out of the climbers hands thus enabling a better grip on the steep and often treacherous rock face.

Images from the Forth Season are still being edited and should post soon!

Cheers, Jeremy

Spotlight on Wes Studi.

Photograph Jeremy Wade Shockley/SU DRUM

Wes Studi Graces Fort Lewis College
By Rachel Beckelhymer

Wes Studi strutted onto the stage with all the air of a true movie star. He had every reason to feel proud, as the honored lecturer at the 2009 Fort Lewis College Native American Presidential Lecture Series, at the Community Concert Hall in Durango, Colorado. The annual lecture in honor of Native American Heritage Month highlights a Native American luminary, and Wes Studi was up to the challenge as he spun yarns for a packed house on Thursday evening, November 5. After sharing the colorful stories from his life, he stayed to pose for numerous photographs with school children, Southern Ute Royalty, and many happy fans.

The Cherokee actor, activist, author, and Vietnam War Veteran, sauntered to a generous black leather chair, his black leather jacket glistened in the bright lights as he went. “I’d like to make myself more comfortable,” he said as he began to disrobe. He ceremoniously unbuttoned his white shirt and slowly undid his black silk neck scarf. Lounging casually with crossed legs and a microphone poised for storytelling in his left hand, he began.

“Some of you may remember the days when the only phones we had were attached to walls.” Wes Studi shared experiences from his life, like his years in Vietnam, “Not a pleasant experience.” And what it was like when he returned. “I came back at a time where there was a lot of unrest.” He said, but he found welcome in the Indian community. “I think that’s something Indians do well. No matter what people thought about the war, they welcomed us back and realized that, ‘these are our young men’ ”

Born in Oklahoma, at No Fire Hollow, in the Cherokee Nation, his family moved around frequently, “I became a wondering man at that point, at [age] seven.” After the war he attended Bacon College. But, “I never had a passion for what I did…then I discovered acting.” It was in Tulsa Oklahoma, at the American Indian Theater Company. “I went, and I looked in and saw like eight women and two men. “Hey, I like these odds,” and that’s how I got started.”

His first of 60 films was, Powwow Highway. He can be seen as Magua, in Last of the Mohicans, and in the films Geronimo, The Only Good Indian, Avatar, and Dances with Wolves. When asked if he could make any movie, he said he’d like to try Othello, on the Rez. After answering audience questions, he left the stage with a command, “Go out, and live your dreams.”

Visit the latest Southern Ute Drum Newspaper Online HERE to see more on Wes Studi.

The Forth Season : First Storm

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009. All Rights Reserved.

A cold bitter sting was in the air, the environment we had been searching for any sign elk had completely changed. The tables were turned in our favor, guesswork had turned to clear cut tracking.

In the midst of running a herd of elk across a deep ravine, I crossed a beautiful six point shed antler. It would take me almost two hours to circle back around to the elevation where I had seen it, take this photo, and pack it out as my only souvenir for the season.

Elk shed their antlers each spring, the large bones break off against rocks, trees and often times while sparring with other bulls.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley.

The Forth Season : Mitchell

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009. All Rights Reserved.

I began hunting with Ben Mitchell in the year 2007. We are friends, neighbors, and for five days out of each year, dedicated woodsman.

Ben’s patience with my need to document our search for elk seems to have no end. In the early morning light, a single, or multiple, trip of the camera shutter seems to ring through the silence like a gunshot. I feel like the one kid unwrapping a butterscotch candy during final exams. If at times Ben seems to be annoyed by my journalistic pursuits, I fall back and focus my lens on the nature around us and the hunt at hand.

Please take a moment to view some of the images from my first year out with Ben Mitchell and my grandfather James “Dub” Shockley. To see those images enter the photo gallery HERE.

Cheers, Jeremy

The Forth Season : Deadwood

One of my longest running documentary projects started the year I returned from Africa. When my 76 year old grandfather asked me to accompany him on an elk hunting trip into the woods, it seemed natural to document the event. I was acting only as a scout and “Bird Dog” as he would so many times refer to me in the company of others.

He always hunts a late season, and is reluctant to give up the woods he has hunted for so long. An interesting fact about those woods is that the old growth forest was severely damaged by the effects of the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire, leaving large sections of the once thriving forest dead, and seemingly more stark than the year before.

I made these images on our first day out this year, showing a dead forest that is dangerous in high winds and downright spooky at night.

This photo essay began in the Fall of 2005, I have returned faithfully with camera, and rifle, in hand each year since, developing this story about traditions, my grandfather, and the art of the hunt.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009.

Shadow & Stone.

Photograph © Rachel Beckelhymer 2009.

Writer and Journalist, Rachel Beckelhymer has taken her hand at photography in recent months. One does find that the two are often so intertwined that it is almost a dance. Words and images in concert-tried and true.

While I faced the day from my desk at the newspaper, Rachel had an excellent opportunity to venture into the realm of Ancestral Puebloans with friends at her side. On this brisk winter’s day at Mesa Verde National Park, Rachel took one of my Nikons and made this beautiful, quiet image of a ranger silhouetted in the fading light.

You can sample some of Rachel’s writing on her WordPress blog right HERE.

Rachel explains, “Our ranger had a great knowledge and reverence for Native American culture and spirituality, and he was very charismatic. I wanted to capture his windswept cheeks and Smokey Bear hat, but I was too shy to ask him for a portrait and my ‘stolen’ photo attempts were not very good. I noticed his shadow, and having seen Jeremy successfully use shadow as his main subject before, I composed this shot. I was able to come away with a picture that was interesting and maybe more successful than the portrait I had initially intended.”

Do you find yourself approaching photographic subjects more figuratively or literally? More importantly how do you approach subjects you feel uncomfortable shooting?

Cheers, Jeremy


Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009.

One of the newest galleries added to my Photo Archive on PhotoShelter is titled Lifestyle. I hope that this gallery can encompass many of the single images from everyday moments captured amongst friends, family and even strangers, the “Slice of Life” pictures that would otherwise get filed away into the digital unknowen!

Check out the Gallery HERE on my Stock Photography Archive.

Cheers, Jeremy

The Usual Suspects.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009. All Rights Reserved.

October 31st, 2009.

Durango never disappoints when Carnival comes around! Rachel and I even had the opportunity to share a Baily’s with Old Greg at none other than the Historic El Rancho Tavern! Costumed revilers descended upon Main St. in a long stepped tradition as the clock stuck twelve, and the Devil himself stepped out for a smoke despite the stinging chill of an October’s night. Happy Halloween!

Painting With Light.

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009.

A number of years back I took a workshop with photographer Dave Black, who is a dedicated artist in the technical process of Light Painting. This is a technique that requires manipulating the scene with creative lighting sources as a long exposure is produced.

The process can be as simple as setting up a tripod and using a basic flashlight to illuminate the scene, the “scene” can be as simple as a still life on your kitchen table, or expanded to an entire landscape.

Dave’s own work is impressive and covers everything from classic western cowboy scenes to an impressive project in which he collaborated with numerous National Geographic photographers to produce varied images from Arlington Cemetery. Dave’s approach to this project kept him working through the night with assistants and a large array of portable light sources.

This image was my first, and to date, my last attempt at Light Painting. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but rather the technique is a style in itself removed from my own journalistic direction. This photograph was produced by setting up a Nikon D80 on Bulb, during a full moon. I tripped the shutter using a remote cable and then proceeded to “paint” light onto the walls of this Anasazi Ruin before tripping off the shutter. I then used a high contrast sepia to brighten the painted areas of the scene during post production.

The possibilities of this process are almost endless, and I certainly had a great time giving it a try- so strap on your head lamp, bring out some of your heavy flashlights, and perhaps a strobe or two with warming gels, and get creative!