Shannon McClatchey

mcshan2's picture
Neighborhood: Western Addition
SFOS 2020

I have been photographing the world ever since I received a Kodak Instamatic on my 7th birthday, and when I was 14 my father promised he would give me a 'real camera' if I took a photography/darkroom class. After spending the summer at Barnsdall Art Center in Hollywood, CA, I earned my Konica T3 and a lifelong love affair with film photography began. My work has taken me across the globe with photography workshops in the West of Ireland and Venice (Italy); a King County (WA) Public Art Projects Award grant from 4 Culture in Seattle, WA, and an artist residency at Takt Kunstprojektraum in Berlin, Germany. Currently, I shoot mostly on film using 35mm, medium format, plastic and Polaroid cameras, though I occasionally dabble in digital.

My focus is sharp, my most arresting media is black and white and my most effective lighting is stark. Deliberate and precise, I study objects and space from a distance - there I take time to measure and compose. However, my most satisfying results require me to see the gap and capture it quickly before it closes. The results of my work might be described as moody or haunted, populated by shadow and tied together by the question, "what happened here?” I see the detritus of our existence where the lingering heat of human presence has, or is, quickly dissipating. Mostly I see anticipation, potential and anxiety. My art wrestles with capturing effectively that uncertain edge between hope and fear.

My primary subject over the last decade or so has been the space between. I use architecture and urban landscapes, and natural landscape to explore dynamic, temporary vacancy. These gaps range from the silenced space created by a shift in the environment or change in the weather or daylight; to the uneasy emptiness of urban landscapes waiting for oblivion through a demographic or economic change. Densely packed cities and architecture are hard places to find isolation if not focusing the lens on the dispossessed.