Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.
I first saw the work of David Alan Harvey at an impressionable time in my life. I was in my early twenties, working and studying in Latin America. The books and literature I consumed revolved around Spanish culture at large. I clearly remember sitting in my small, barren apartment overlooking the colonial architecture of Cuenca sprawling out below me, a quart of mildly warm Pilsner at my side and a National Geographic magazine opened to an article on Cuba. The work was David’s of course. I said to myself, this guy knows how to have a good time…. And he shoots for the Geographic.
I was inspired.
The intimate, colorful images stuck with me as I traversed the full length of Central America and Mexico, camera in hand, arriving some months later in a poorly lit bus depot outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had completed my journey. I immediately sought out a lab to develop the film canisters I had been packing around, in a ragged ziplock bag. So began my passion for imagery.
In the following year I would return to Colorado and finish my degree in architecture. I wasted no time in unpacking an old Pentax K1000, given to me by my mother upon graduating high school, and made friends with the Universities’ visual resource department. Hours washed away in the darkroom.
My love of photography, combined with a lifetime of travel, set in motion a career which I had not yet fully conceptualized.
In the years following my degree I found myself wandering the red earthen trails of Ha Mohatlane, generally just keeping myself busy, shooting as much film as I could afford to develop on the stipend of a Peace Corps volunteer working in Africa. This was not a large sum of money. Passion led to direction. I needed fuel. My time in Lesotho neared it’s end, I had crossed every district in the Mountain Kingdom, photographed most of it, and desperately wanted to understand photojournalism to a fuller extent. I knew then that I wanted to make a difference through photography.
The words and images of David Alan Harvey came to me in a small field guide published by the National Geographic, where a dozen or so iconic Geographic photographers really speak from the heart about image making and the role of photography in telling a story. I soaked this one up- a couple of times. I related especially to David’s intimate and honest approach. More about the moment-less about the equipment.
Two years later I was introducing myself to David Harvey and Jodi Cobb in a room full of photographers.
Back on American soil, my drive was fueled by the immediate desire to make a career for myself, the opportunities presented by a fist full of credit cards, and an open road. With that said, I packed my aging pickup, a nineteen and seventy-seven Chevrolet with the basics, a couple of film cameras and headed to Wyoming for a weeklong workshop led by some of the most respected and iconic photographers and editors of our time. I can’t quite say “the rest is history” because that was only the beginning!
I took this portrait of David the other day at a cafe, not the exact photo I had intended to take just moments before, while sipping on my coffee. David, relaxed, pensive, his hands gesturing as his thoughts formulated. I missed that one. This will have to work.
David’s advice…Sail your own Boat!
A short video segment produced by David’s son, Bryan Harvey …enjoy the film.