Content Trumps Technical Aesthetics…True or False?

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.

It is safe to say that there were many approaches to this subject that might have rendered a more pleasing exposure, a technically correct exposure if you will. It is also safe to say that the moment would not have existed if I had taken a second more to rethink my approach, furthermore I can also tell you I was siting under the same blinding sun, with film loaded in my camera (probably with an ASA chosen for a completely different situation in another lifetime) and an instant to consider my manual settings, while the rest of my brain capacity was still concerned over the effects the warm goat milk I just ceremonially partook might have on my long term health.

The subject is a man who has just taken his second wife, a very young girl who is not pictured, and he is being attended to by his first. This quite moment is in contrast to the celebrations that took place in the days preceding our meeting. I was invited to share in their company and what food was left from the feasting.

The photo is a success in my eyes.

That notion was reaffirmed some years ago when TIME magazine photographer James Hill selected it from an array of working photographs of Africa for a portfolio review. Hill was clearly seeking the right moment, not the perfect exposure.

I fully realize a nice blend of the two aesthetics are core to most great images, and furthermore practiced by almost all working professionals. In reality we are often at the mercy of the elements, the situation, and our equipment, or lack there of.

My point is a great photo should not be judged at first glance by its technical proficiency, but rather its core content, the emotion, or spontaneity of the event captured in that instant. In the digital age we are furthermore inundated with well exposed, highly saturated images, aesthetic elements which in my mind play second fiddle to subject and composition.

Do you feel that the later is just as important, or can a good photo be soft, blurry, or poorly light and still deliver the same punch?

There is no clear answer, no single opinion, but instead I think this is a nice conversation piece, and a fundamental question we will almost always revisit as photographers, journalist and artists.

I welcome your input. – Jeremy

EXPOSURE – A Steve McCurry Juried Exhibit.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011. All Rights Reserved.

I have posted a number of photos here, Images that I put in for submission in this year’s juried show at the Open Shutter – esteemed guest juror – Steve McCurry.

The deadline for submission has come and gone, but each year this prestigious exhibition draws high quality work to the warm brick walls of Durango’s finest photography venue!

Enjoy the photos…Jeremy

One From The Archive…

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.

School children share a playful moment on the plaza during recess in the historic settlement of Stonetown. The port city is known for its role as a slave trading center on the island of Zanzibar- a short distance from the African coast.

Today the island communities are alive with cultural and ethnic diversity, Stonetown being the only developed city center on an otherwise quiet, rural island country.

I have always enjoyed this image for its playful spontaneity, the cultural differentiation, and the photographic tension created the the subjects themselves, and deep shadows.


Out of Africa.

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.

As I pack warm cloths, and mentally prepare myself to shoot the first big powwow celebration of the season in Denver, Colorado my thoughts turn to Africa.

Perhaps the winter storm warning and snowy mountain passes have something to do with it, perhaps the eight hour drive itself sends my mind to slower times. I am excited. The grand entries will be full of energy, the shooting intensifies, and the moments between are filled with life on the fringe of a great gathering of dancers and those who support them.

I pulled this image from the archive to reflect a slower pace of life. One which I dearly miss, a time in my life that perhaps I can never truly go back to, a cadence I may never reagin. Then again whose to say what the future has in store for all of us. If we truly seek something we can almost always find the way…I only hope that the peace in our world will continue to exist, and that troubled times will pass.

Take a moment for yourself this weekend, take a photo that reflects your idea of solitude, quite. Feel free to share in the process right here.

Best, Jeremy

207th Post…

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011. All Rights Reserved.

I have been directing so much energy in to my new PhotoShelter Photography archive and posting about it, that I simply overlooked the fact that we had passed the 200th post. A milestone that I am excited to share…over two hundred posts on photography, travel, and the ongoing projects surrounding my own photojournalism career.

So…with that said I present the 207th post!

I give a warm welcome to those who are recently stumbling on to the site, and many thanks to those who have continued to support this photography forum over the years! Stay tuned as we roll into 2011 and all that lies ahead…

Many Thanks go out to my readership, Jeremy

Spotlight on Galleries: Return to the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.

Returning to Lesotho in 2007 as a freelance photographer working on an assignment for Worldview Magazine, I had just under five weeks to cover several parts of South Africa and revisit the Mountain Kingdom. These select images are all taken using a Nikon digital SLR and a much looser photographic approach than my previous work there – limited only by time and the 100 GB backup drives which I had purchased for the assignment.

There are two galleries dedicated to this collection…enjoy the images!

Mountain Kingdom III and the corresponding gallery Mountain Kingdom IV.

Cheers, Jeremy

Spotlight on Galleries: The Mountain Kingdom

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2011.

I have recently created a final edit of images that I made during my two years of service under the United States Peace Corps. Serving in The Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho from 2003-2005. During those years I carried a manual film camera in my shoulder bag in order to document my surroundings on a day-to-day basis. I travelled through all ten districts of Lesotho in my time there, but the bulk of my images were made within a few minutes walk of my home in the village of Ha Mohatlane.

Film was scarce, and the money to develop what rolls I could afford to buy, was even harder to come by. The result was a very methodical approach to photography, careful composition, favorable lighting, and very few consecutive frames from any single subject. Very different from how I approach subjects now. I worked strictly with prime lenses, a 28mm f2.8 and a 50mm f1.7, during those first years in Lesotho. No flash, No tripod…simple-straight documentary style street photography.

This collection of images includes portraiture, landscapes and the small details that caught my eye as I passed my days under the African sun!

I have posted links to the Galleries featuring both my Color Film Images and the Black & White Film Images.

Simply click on the links…and enjoy the photographs!

Reflecting on the End of a Decade, Final Hours, Future Projects.

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2010.

Scenes from the desert and oasis of Africa, reflection of past images, distant travels and future projects. Here to the adventures ahead! Happy New year from myself, rachel and the Fedora Photo Team…. Jeremy

Photographs © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2010.