Tuesday, July 07, 2009

In the Gallery -- July 2009

Fledgling becomes Masterful: The Photography of Shannon Klepfer

"Photography is my love," artist Shannon Klepfer states. "I could not imagine my life without it, nor do I ever want to imagine my life without it." In 1983, Waynetown, Indiana was gifted with a precious child born second in her family. Her mother remembers, not so happily, her special talent for drawing pictures on her bedroom walls whenever the opportunity presented itself. Even when the crayons were hidden in a special place, Shannon continued drawing on the walls. "Where on earth were these crayons coming from?” her mother wondered. The mystery persisted until one day as her mother passed her daughter's room, she noticed Shannon pulling colorful crayons from beneath her mattress! Aha, at last the mystery was solved. It appeared Shannon's passion for drawing far exceeded her need to obey her mother! As a youngster, Shannon's parents often took her to art museums where she always wanted to take home various paintings and pieces of art. That was when her parents knew art would become a very large part of her life. At the age of five, Shannon got her first "real" Barbie camera, which she carried everywhere capturing objects that felt interesting. She still remembers that little pink camera with "Barbie" stamped across the top. One day Shannon became curious about what would happen if she set off the flash right before her eye.She definitely found out, when she saw only purple for the next thirty minutes. She never told her mom for fear the camera would be taken away! At Southmont High School she took as many photography classes as possible and began researching photographers and their work, looking for inspiration in becoming a professional photographer. During lunch hour and after school, she could always be found in the darkroom making multiple images with an enlarger. The day she succeeded in photo manipulation was the day she wanted to manipulate all her images to more accurately represent what was in her imagination. During this time, she entered several art contests and regularly won. Just before high school graduation she bought her first enlarger. She kept it in her bedroom closet and washed her prints in the bathtub which didn't impress family members at all.

In 2001, Shannon started Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana. She took drawing classes, art history, and of course, photography. She spent every moment possible in the photo lab. She enjoyed being at Herron, but felt something was missing. She felt the need to experience more of the world. In May 2003, she was accepted at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. The school of her dreams turned out to be an intense year-round educational facility with only a one week break between semesters. While on break, assignments were still expected to be completed. She worked diligently to learn the skills necessary to make her photographs as close to her visualizations as possible. Shannon studied under Nino Rakichevich, a renowned fashion and celebrity photographer. Once she took some of these classes Shannon realized how much she loved fashion photography because of its endless possibilities. She then married fashion photography with her love of fine art to create her own version of fashion photography. While attending Brooks, Shannon had her first solo art exhibit at the Wild Cat Lounge in Santa Barbara, California. Today, Shannon lives and works on the beach in Wilmington, North Carolina where she owns and operates her own photography business. This fledgling has definitely become masterful!

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