Fortunate to live in south Louisiana’s Cajun Country, I’ve come to know many amazing people from every walk of life. A long time cycling friend and all-around Renaissance man, Shannon Atkinson is one of those people.
I was captivated by his photography during this year’s Mardi Gras. Growing up with the annual carnivals, I’d seen the sights and images over a lifetime. His eye-view and imagery exposed a side of the season I’d never known—or imagined.
My crime fiction episodes, A Cajun Murder Mystery Series are set in the deep South’s bayou land. Shannon’s art captures the raw, gritty genre of the classic noir mystery thrillers. It was a perfect match.
A giant big bayou favor – go to Shannon’s Facebook and mash the LIKE button.
Scott: Shannon, thanks for your time. How about sharing a bit about yourself?
Shannon: I’m Shannon Atkinson, and a Louisiana based photographer focusing primarily on concert and street photography. I’ve photographed live promotional images for artists including Plain White T’s, Percy Sledge, Louis Prima Jr., and Marco Palos in addition to other international acts.
My work has been published in regional magazines and websites as well as Yahoo Sports. Although I continue to develop a diverse catalog, my true passion is street photography, “I have always gravitated to Environmental Portraiture. It is not uncommon for me to shoot other genres, but the streets are where I feel most at home with a camera in my hands.”
I’ve photographed throughout the United States as well as Central America. Currently, I’m working on a photographic series documenting the decline of Louisiana’s indigenous population and loss of culture. My work can be viewed at www.shannonatkinsonphoto.com.
Scott: Your passion is obvious in your art. What ignited your flame for photography?
Shannon: My dad was the family photographer when I was a kid. He had this wonderful, shiny, 35mm that I used to secretly sneak out of the house and experiment with when he was away on business.
Eventually he gave in and allowed me to borrow it when I wanted. I fell in love with the ability to take a subject and capture it in a way unique to my vision. I’m still in love with this.
Scott: I love the black and white urban-scape photography featured on each A Cajun Murder Mystery Series’ cover art – what drove you to focus on that motif?
Shannon: Black and white resonates with me, it has soul. I started in the days of film and spent a lot of time in the dark room working in B&W. Removing color from the image allows me to focus on shadow and form which is what I’m very much drawn to.
I do shoot color, but the color has to be a major part of the reason I’m making the photograph in the first place. As for the Street photography genre, I’ve always been an observer of people. Human beings are bizarre and interesting creatures… especially when they have no idea they are being observed.
Some people give off a certain something that can’t be put into words. I’m drawn to these people and interested in seeing how this translates into a photograph. The same goes for certain places, they just have soul.
Scott: Kinda of cliché, but I’ll go for it. If you could photograph anyone from any period of time – who would it be? Why, and how would you set the shot?
Shannon: This is a tough one. The tendency is to choose someone that would be a bit obvious. I could pick JFK or Marilyn Monroe or maybe Mahatma Gandhi or Mother Theresa.
The problem with these choices, although tremendous subjects, is that they are not that personal to me. So if I have to choose a subject just for me, then it’s simple… I’d choose jazz great Miles Davis. From the late 1950’s, the Kinda Blue era.
He had an ultra-cool vibe that I’d love to explore and capture. I’m thinking in a dark jazz club with a cigarette and lots of backlit cigarette smoke. Real harsh and grainy with lots of his coolness.
Scott: Miles Davis sounds a lot like you. You’re also an excellent musician and cyclist – what other acts of awesomeness do you regularly demonstrate?
Shannon: I involuntarily wake up 1 minute before my alarm goes off… every day. Other than that, I’ve got nothing.
Another chance to do yourself a favor – go to Shannon’s Facebook - mash the LIKE button.
B&W – What’s it good for? | Shannon Atkinson