Waaaaaay back in 7th grade, I got my first camera and swiftly began taking pictures of pretty much everything - my Bruce Springsteen poster, my high top Reeboks, my banana clip collection, my Guess jeans, my boyfriend's mullet - you get the idea. Later, Journalism class provided the opportunity to process photographs in a darkroom - and I was hooked! Watching the images evolve through each little tray was absolutely invigorating, as abstract patches of black and white swirled into pieces of art before me. I still get that same thrill these days watching pictures come to life on my computer screen. I love the way photographs can begin with the simple click of a camera, and wind up telling the story of an otherwise lost moment in time.
After college, I taught High School English in Oklahoma for ten years. My all-time favorite assignment was during my poetry unit. For the assignment, the students were asked to choose a meaningful childhood photo as the subject for a free-verse poem. Their choices were always poignant memories: a faded image of brothers, mason jars in tow, chasing lightening bugs; a torn black and white of a kiss from Grandma; a yellowed polaroid of a giggling, pig-tailed toddler teetering on Dad's shoulders. In all those years, no student ever brought in a posed portrait - nothing from Olan Mills or Sears, nothing with a swirly blue backdrop, nothing that required a black fine-toothed Ace comb and mom-spit, nothing in which anyone was told, "Sit still and say CHEESE!". They consistently chose photos that told a story, resulting in deeply moving, nostalgic poetry. At the risk of sounding unbearably cliche, I must add that this assignment showed me again and again that a picture truly is worth more than a thousand words.
My husband and I moved to Arkansas in 2004, and I officially "retired" from teaching. After literally wearing out two Canon point-and-shoots in a row, I got my first DSLR. I began fielding frequent photo requests for family & friends: Christmas card & baby announcements, birthday parties & family portraits. I was officially smitten with the world of photography, and I began reading, researching, and learning as much as I possibly could. I invested in my first on-line photography workshop led by the renowned Marta Locklear, called "Finding the Light". It changed everything for me, and I learned to master manual mode and "search for the light". It helped to have the perfect built-in subject. my blonde, blue-eyed Lucy, at home with me. I probably took 1200 pictures a day of my poor baby. Friends and family began to persuade me to turn my passion for photography into a business. I still don't know if they really thought I should do it, or if they were just sick of looking at the daily barrage of pictures of my kid. Either way, I did it. In the Fall of 2008, Shannon LaDuke Photography was official.
Since then I've upgraded equipment & software several times, logged many hours in photography workshops and manuals, and have had the pleasure of working with such fantastic families. Every shoot is so different, but for each one I try to illustrate a moment in time. I capture smiles & scowls, laughter & tears, smirks & quirks. I capture what makes each family unique. I tell their story...
I so appreciate all those who persuaded me to embark upon my photography venture. I feel like I'm finally doing what I was always meant to do, and I'm loving it!
Thank you so much for visiting,