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Meet Christina Shaw

photo by Christina Shaw

The photographer discusses last week's AV cover shoot

Between photographing weddings and exploring Buffalo, photographer Christina Shaw made some time last week to provide some behind-the-scenes talk about last week’s AV Summer Guide cover photo shoot.

AV: Where did you get the props for the cover shoot?

Shaw: I was lucky enough to have Artvoice art directors Amanda Ferreira and Zachary Burns bring a liter of some bright yellow pineapple drink to help mock the lemonade look. The vintage pitcher came from Ferreira’s vintage clothing, barware, and home decor shop, Rust Belt Threads. Model Jamie Doktor (of The Stripteasers) supplied the bathing suit, tattoos (they are real), flower hair clips, and makeup. She also brought along two umbrellas from her shows as a burlesque dancer, which made for some exciting and colorful images!

AV: Do you enjoy working on photo-shoots with a vintage feel?

Shaw: If I could only shoot vintage photo shoots, I would. Though I wonder if I’d get bored with only one style. So yes, I love working on photo shoots with a vintage feel but I also love that I can still get excited when one pops up. I’ve only been able to do two or three other shoots with a vintage feel and those mostly involve me begging my friends to dress up or taking still life photographs in a Salvation Army.

AV: How does the atmosphere of Buffalo influence your photography?

Shaw: The friendliness of the people in Buffalo amazes me and influences my images. When I was living in NYC it was easier for me to play paparazzi and take pictures of anything and everyone that interested me. People didn’t seem to notice or acknowledge my presence. Because of that, I did more candid work and rarely got to share my work with the person I was photographing. In Buffalo, I tend to know the person I’m photographing or it’s an arranged session. I have been creating less candid work and more personal and meaningful images. This encourages me to out do my last session and create that one image for my subject that brings them that wonder feeling of a frozen moment. I aspire to give clients images that they’ll keep close forever.

AV: Is it easier or harder to find shooting locations in Buffalo compared to other cities? Do you have a favorite spot?

Shaw: I still am exploring Buffalo and finding new spots for shoots. I only have one location that I’ve used more than once and it’s quickly becoming my least favorite. I do find it harder to just walk to a new location while in other cities you can mosey around until you hit the next spot. It makes me appreciate a beautiful location when I reach one. There is a ton of beauty all around Buffalo and it’s surrounding suburbs-it’s fun uncovering those things with my lens.

AV: Have you worked with any other Buffalo photographers?

Shaw: I shot a few weddings in 2010 for Priore Wedding Studios (Tracy Dorr and Joe Priore). I welcome the opportunity to work with other Buffalo photographers, in fact I’ve been trying to find someone to go out and shoot with. I feel I could grow so much if I had someone to challenge me or even just connect with over a camera. Is there a club for Buffalo photographers who want fellow photographer friends? If so, sign me up!

Mainly my high school art teacher and photographer, Elaine Kessel, influenced me. She taught me how to make art with my camera. There are two wedding studios that I love to follow, Nickel City Studios (Buffalo) & Orange Girl Photographs (Banff). They are both influential in my work—I love how they connect with their audience and update frequently to keep you coming back for more. I also have a respect for the masters of photography and highly recommend Photography Now for anyone who needs a little encouragement…I love looking at it and dreaming, “One day I can have a portfolio like that.”

—jill greenberg

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