Jennifer Shaw 

Jennifer Shaw (born 1972) was born and raised in the Mid-West and became fascinated with photography (and working in the darkroom) at an early age. She graduated with a BFA degree in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994 and shortly thereafter relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana. Shaw uses plastic cameras, such as a Holga, to produce her ethereal imagery. She states, “(Plastic cameras are)…an extention of my psyche. They lend a whimsical spontaneity to the act of photographing. When I see something that moves me I just click, rather than losing the moment by fussing around with the technical adjustments of a more formal camera. I also feel like the plastic lens imparts an image that comes closer to the way we actually see with our eyes. I try to create images that transcend literal description, that provoke an emotional response to my surroundings. I hope to convey a sense of time and place that is beautiful and sensual and serene.”

Shaw is perhaps best known for her portfolio, Hurricane Story. It depicts her and her families experiences during the time of the Hurricane Katrina disaster in late summer 2005, and the months that followed. She states, “I was nine months pregnant and due in less than a week when Hurricane Katrina blew into the Gulf. In the early hours of August 28, 2005 my husband and I loaded up our small truck with two cats, two dogs, two crates full of negatives, all our important papers and a few changes of clothes. We evacuated to a motel in southern Alabama and tried not to watch the news. Monday, August 29 brought the convergence of two major life-changing events; the destruction of New Orleans and the birth of our first son. It was two long months and 6000 miles on the road before we were able to return home.”

It was nice to have a distraction (from Hurricane Story)

Upon returning to New Orleans, Shaw spent considerable time in the Lower 9th Ward, photographing the aftermath of Katrina. She states, “Shooting in the 9th Ward was emotionally draining. There were scenes that made me cry. The power of water to shift the landscape so completely was just insane to witness. It was difficult to confront the extreme devastation, but also very important to me, both as a photographer and human being. And I think there was somethiing healing about the act of composing images – finding order in the chaos. Ultimately, the process of documenting the disaster’s aftermath led me to the realization that the Katrina story I most needed to tell was my own.”

The next morning we turned on the T.V. (from Hurricane Story)

“Hurricane Story is a depiction of our family’s evacuation experience – the birth, the travels and the return. These photographs represent various elements of our ordeal. The project began as a cathartic way to process some of the lingering anger and anxiety over that bittersweet journey. It grew into a narrative series of self-portraits, recreated in constructed tableaus, using small toys to illustrate my experiences and emotional state during our time in exile.”

Statue, Audubon Park, 2001 (from Espirito)

“Photography is always an act of discovery for me. It’s about the joy of seeing and the mysterious convergence of light, texture and form as translated onto film. A sense of wonder and a reverence for beauty are motivating factors that lead me to document and interpret the world through the camera’s lens. When I go walking with my camera, the act of seeing becomes a process of emotional intuition, and these pictures serve as evidence of the strange and wonderful things I find.”

Floating Clovers, 2001 (from Espirito)

Shaw continues to live and work in New Orleans, and is also a founding Officer and Board Member of the New Orleans Photo Alliance. She serves as Director of their annual PhotoNOLA festival. Her photographs have been published in B&W Magazine, Shots, Light Leaks Magazine, The Oxford American and The Sun. Her work is exhibited internationally and held in private and public collections, including the Huntsville Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

Shaw’s monograph, Hurricane Story, was published by Chin Music Press in 2011. Her work was also featured in Plastic Cameras: Toying With Creativity (Focal Press, 2010) and Before During After (UNO Press, 2010)

In spite of it all there’s no place like home (from Hurricane Story)

Print Information: All color images are produced under the artist’s supervision as archival pigment print photographs, and are available in three different print sizes/editions, as follows: 15×15″ image printed on 22×17″ paper (in a limited editon of twenty-five prints), 30×30″ image printed on approx. 34×34″ paper (in a limited edition of ten prints, plus one Artist Proof) and 40×40″ image printed on approx. 44×44″ paper (in a limited edition of five prints, plus one Artist Proof). Print prices are set by the artist and start at $500.00 (for the smallest size prints). Print prices increase as the edition sells out and are subject to change without prior notice.

All gelatin silver print photographs are printed by the artist, split-toned and produced as 14×14″ images, printed on 20×16″ paper, in a limited edition of twenty-five prints. Print prices are set by the artist and start at $750.00. Print prices increase as the edition sells out and are subject to change without prior notice. Due to the unpredictable nature of the toning process each print is unique, and may differ slightly from the online depiction. Please contact Soulcatcher Studio for current pricing information.

Please inquire if you have other favorite images by this artist, as we can offer her entire portfolio of work for sale. Please contact us for complete information

Click here to view our exhibition and sale, “Hurricane Story: Photographs by Jennifer Shaw”.

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