Photos by Marina Cohen.

(A Little Too Much) About Shawn

I was introduced to the camera in 1986 when I inherited my dad’s Canon AE-1 Program.  That camera sat in a box for about 6 years before I decided to take it to high school with me one day.  Over the next couple of years, I somehow managed to not screw up too many rolls of film as I photographed my friends hanging out and skateboarding around Austin, TX.  The camera took a giant back burner as I focused more time and energy on my own skateboarding.  Then in my early twenties my dad’s camera was stolen from my house while I was out of town on a skate trip.

Fast forward to 2004 and my first daughter was born.  By this time, digital photography was in full bloom and I bought my first camera in years so I could photograph her.  I was immediately hooked on the digital medium of photography.  I would spend hours at night scouring the internet; learning how to light correctly and to make my own inexpensive light modifiers.  I dove headfirst in to studio photography…

I grew up reading and looking through comic books, skateboarding magazine, and my mom’s fashion magazines.  These three things shaped what I wanted to photograph.  The beauty and glamour images from those fashion magazines made me want to create.  I was in awe with the perfect lighting; the way the light created beautiful highlights and rich shadows that shaped and built dimension and depth.  The way comic book heroes were drawn; tall, muscular and lean; and the way the villains were portrayed; short, overweight, out of shape.

And this may sound terrible to some, but I started to get bored with just shooting beautiful people on a solid color background.  I started playing around with shooting something different.  This was an uncomfortable process for me.  I fumbled around trying to learn how to light for product photography.  During this fumbling, I fell in love with illustrative and product photography.  The lighting challenges were like learning a new math theorem; a series of logical steps to solve a problem.  Then I started using these newly found lighting chops on creating more dramatic portraits.  Getting uncomfortable made me feel better and work harder; something different.

Through out all of these changes and experiments, I continued to photograph the human form.  I have always been fascinated by the human body.  That enchantment began because of the comic books and fashion magazine I looked through as a child.  The human body can do and adapt to almost anything you put it up against.  You can be an athlete that works out and trains daily; eating properly to maintain and grow with the activities.  You can abuse your body with food, drugs, alcohol and it will adapt and try to overcome those rigors.  You can choose to decorate your body with tattoos, piercings, scarification.  The human body also becomes decorated with the way one lives their lives and the choices made.  The stretch marks from child birth.  Scars from sports and other activities.  Sun spots from being in the sun too much.  Plastic and cosmetic surgery.  Augmentation.  Wrinkles that develop over time and from age as our skin loses elasticity.  Surgery scars.

This fascination with the human body has led me down so many different paths photographically.  My Stripped Down project. Using the body as a prop for jewelry and fashion work.  I want to continue to find a way to photograph the body and the personality contained within them in a way that tells a story.  A story in one frame or a series of frames.  Sometimes I may want the viewer to follow the story I have built.  Other times, I want the viewer to let their imagination roam free and construct their own story.

The pieces become wholly more important than the outright…


I chose to be an artist, a creative, a photographer, a content creator…not to starve, but because I am hungry…