If you haven’t seen Shannon Greer’s chalk images on our website yet, go check them out now! They’re too cute to miss. So cute, in fact, that we decided to make a cross-country phone call to this creative photographer in his New York studio to find out more about these photos.
It turns out that this whimsical idea was a project Shannon did just to spruce up his portfolio. I don’t know about you, but I want to see more! Luckily, it sounds like Shannon does, too.
AP: How did you come up with this idea? Did something specific inspire it?
SG: I’d seen something. Something like a chalkboard at a restaurant. Then I looked up chalk drawings online and found a few more things for inspiration.
AP: Who did the drawings?
SG: Aimee Cavenecia was the artist for the drawings. I just put an ad on Craigslist and Aimee responded. She had good experience and lived right in neighborhood, so she was familiar with the area where we’d be working. We met for the first time the morning of the shoot, so it could have gone horribly, but everything worked out really well.
AP: What was the process for creating the images?
SG: I had to borrow the flats for the shoot and paint them myself. The drawings are minimal because it took time to draw each set, and it keeps it childlike, which I liked. It was a fun day. The most crucial part was that Aimee worked out. It all hinged on her.
AP: Is this for a particular client or is it just an idea for future use?
SG: Just an idea. You always wants us to build our books and I needed more studio work in my portfolio.
AP: Do you have a favorite chalk image?
SG: The smoking one.
AP: That was my favorite, too!
SG: A lot of people have responded to that. The clutch was added at the end. The image was top heavy before, but the clutch really balanced it. I was thinking of Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The little animals were fun to have on set, too.
AP: Hmm…the birds were fake, right?
AP: Okay, but the dog’s real. How did the dog end up there?
SG: That’s my assistant’s dog. She just ends up in a lot of shoots.
AP: I’ve seen some of your other work and would say you tend to add an element of humor to your photos. Is that something you consciously try to do?
SG: Yeah. That makes it enjoyable for me. Work should be fun. Something I look forward to. I try to have fun on set, so a lot of what you see is natural.
AP: Does the humor get amped up or taken out depending on the client?
SG: Sometimes shoots don’t call for humor, so I pull back for the job or genre.
AP: Do you have a favorite genre to work in?
SG: l love lifestyle and I’ve been doing a lot of portraits lately. Travel photography used to be more fun when you could bring an assistant, but now they’ve cut budgets so much you have to go alone. So you have dinner by yourself with honeymooners all around. It’s very lonely. An assistant makes it fun. Someone to help you carry your bags or just bounce ideas off of.
AP: What photo shoots do you have coming up? Anything more with these chalk images?
SG: I have an exterior shoot in Savannah, but that’s not related to these. I definitely want to do more with this project, though, and would love to work with everyone again.
Find out more about Shannon here:
Find out more about Aimee here:
Here are some fun shots from behind the scenes 🙂
May 4, 2011 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Freedom Riders, a group of protestors who rode a bus across the country to
protest segregation. Shannon Greer directed this video that captures artist Charlotta Janssen’s passionate response to this
Janssen’s work focuses on the Freedom Riders’ mug shots as a sort of celebration of their story. Instead of hiding the mug
shots away in shame, she wants to commemorate these incredible individuals, spending a lot of time to get each portrait
just right. In this video, Greer returns the favor by capturing Janssen’s unique character, highlighting her passion for the
subject as well as her artistic technique.
Janssen’s portraits will be open for view on June 18th, 2011 at the Downtown Public Library in Nashville, TN, where the
Freedom Rides originated.