Shannon Stapleton

Shannon Stapleton

Based
New York, United States
Born
Fort Benning, United States
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 1D Mark IV, 5D Mark II
“I often say I have the best the job in the world. Every day is different and the things I have been fortunate enough to cover in my life have allowed me to travel the globe and witness history.”

Beat

I cover everything from breaking news, sports, and financial coverage to feature story work.

One Shot

. New York, United States. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton
Rescue workers carry fatally injured New York City Fire Department Chaplain, Rev. Mychal Judge, from one of the World Trade Center towers.
“This photo will always haunt me and remind me of how far I have come as a photojournalist.”

Profile

The purpose of news photography is to be the eye of the people, showing them that a picture is still worth a thousand words.

Working for Reuters I have our clients in mind: I’m always thinking of what images will have the best chance of getting play, while holding onto my own vision.

I remember reading LIFE and National Geographic magazines when I was younger. I was always engaged by the still image and the power that it held.

Travelling after graduating from college in 1991 was when I was first exposed to photojournalism. I met a photojournalist in Fez, Morocco who was travelling the globe and had quite an experience in the Rif Mountains on Northern Morocco. I always thought what a great job that would be.

After three years in Colorado snowboarding and working as a sous chef in a restaurant, I started shooting pictures. I went to Costa Rica with a small photo kit that my parents bought me for Christmas

I enrolled as a 24-year-old freshman in Ohio University's photojournalism programme. I spent two years there learning the craft and finished with an internship at the Detroit News.

I will never forget my very first assignment after moving to New York City with Newsday. I had to go to the projects in a very rough part of Far Rockaway in Queens and knock on the door of a woman whose son had been shot and killed the day before. It was truly a humbling and incredible experience that this woman allowed me into her apartment to take a photo of her clutching a photo of her son who had been a victim of gun violence.

The three weeks I spent in the mountains of Pakistan after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake is something I will always look back on. Covering Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake have also left their mark on me.

I have become more patient. I think the good photojournalists are patient and take time composing. They don't have that diarrhoea of the shutter which the digital camera has allowed to happen.

My biggest lesson came from photographer Gilles Peress. I was on the Kosovo and Albania border as refugees poured over, and eager and wanting something different, I went past the checkpoint. Peress pointed for me to come back. He said "Wait, the photos will come to you." The road had been lined with mines. Again, it goes back to patience.

I still get really excited covering breaking news. Whatever or wherever the biggest story of the day or time is, I generally would like to be there witnessing it through my camera.

My family is my passion. I have a wonderful wife and two kids. I also still love snowboarding and travelling as much as possible.

In ten years I hope to be as passionate as I am now about photography. I hope to be more versed in the changing world of photojournalism.

Behind the Scenes

. Nasiriyah, Iraq
Reuters photographer Shannon Stapleton in living quarters at Camp Adder, near Nasiriyah, before its closure.
. Baghdad, Iraq
Stapleton photographs a soccer player for a series of portraits.