Inside the mind of Shamus Johnson, a California-based photographer

Shamus Johnson
Shamus Johnson

Having been passionate about his pursuits in photography for many years, Shamus Johnson gets a lot of value and meaning out of his work. Shamus Photography is the name of his photography business, and if you ever questioned his quality, a quick perusal of his website would put these inquiries to bed.

Shamus has extensive experience when it comes to the ups and downs of photography life, which has only enhanced the authenticity of his work and values.

Below you can see some of his artwork:

Street Market Vietnam by Shamus Johnson
Street Market Vietnam

 

Butcher Tamsui, Taiwan by Shamus Johnson
Butcher Tamsui, Taiwan

 

Pow Wow Seattle Washington by Shamus Johnson
Pow Wow Seattle Washington

Fortunately for us, Shamus took some time away from his work to respond to several questions we had about his life as a photographer.

Where do you get your creative inspiration for your photography shoots? Is it travelling, films, books or television programs?

Traveling mostly.  There’s something about travel that puts me in the right frame of mind to take pictures.  At one point, early in my career, I was interested in becoming a cinematographer.  At that time, film was a big inspiration, obviously, but not so much these days.

There’s a state of mind, a mental condition, really, that I call xenophilia. I define it as a love for things that are strange, unusual, or exotic.  I think it’s something you’re born with.  Basically, it means feeling comfortable outside your comfort zone. It’s why I joined the Navy and lived overseas for 18 years. I loved every minute of it and plan to move back overseas in a few years. My wife is Chinese from Taiwan and she feels the same way, luckily.  Anyway, I know that’s what inspires me, in my photography and everything else.  I need to see what’s around the bend. I also get along with expats from all over the world because we are all xenophiles.  It’s very different from liking to travel or visiting foreign countries.  It borders on being an illness. It’s my main source of inspiration.

What would you say was the most important event/person in your life that encouraged you to consider a career in photography?

My high school photography teacher without a doubt.  I was lucky to have someone who loved photography and teaching.  Mr. Radcliffe changed my life by opening my photographer’s eye and encouraging me to see things in a different ‘light’, so to speak. Also, the fact that my high school had a very modern photo lab was unusual for a small town.  I grew up close to Santa Barbara, California, which has a famous photography/film school called, Brooks Institute.  If I hadn’t joined the Navy, I would have gone there.

When you’re not taking photos or working, what do you like to do as hobbies in your free time?

When I don’t have a camera in my hand, I’m usually holding a guitar.

What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?

Well, at that point, I’d like to have a fat portfolio or two of my favorite prints that I could share with the world. But I’ll still be taking photos. The best one is always the next one.

Thank you Shamus for your time!
You can follow up with Shamus Johnson at https://shamusphotography.com
Please contact him with inquiries at  shamus@shamusphotography.com