Jared Shoemaker Shares His Passion for Photography
Wilmington College junior Jared Shoemaker recalls photographing the aesthetically interesting Arthur Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina, with his iPhone 6 as a 16-year-old in 2015.
He used that image of the modern bridge shot against a blue sky and colorful sunset to explain one of photography’s basic rules for creativity.
“I was talking to my friend, Morgan, about the Rule of Thirds and said, ‘Let me show you.’ I saw this colorful sunset and beautiful structure — where others might just see a bridge,” Shoemaker said, adding that he hearkens that as the moment he became serious about photography.
“That’s the one that sticks out,” said the communication arts major from Springfield. “I keep it in my iPhone just because, for me, that’s where it started.”
PICTURED RIGHT: Jared Shoemaker’s self-portrait, “Mind Games,” is featured on a poster for the upcoming Columbus show.
But, where it’s leading is increased recognition for his work as he has continued his studies of photography and visual arts at Wilmington College.
Shoemaker was invited to present pieces of his portfolio in an exhibit titled “Ovation” presented by RAW: Columbus Nov. 26 at The Bluestone. The exhibit, which features artists employing a variety of creative media, is a milestone in Shoemaker’s emerging journey into photography. Tickets are available here.
While he grew up with Smart Phones and their unique ability to take pictures, he obtained his first “good camera,” a Nikon D-3400, as a freshman at Wilmington College. Then, pictures became photographs.
“My teacher (in high school) said I have an eye for photography and, once I got to Wilmington College, I slowly started to see the potential of photography,” he said, noting that communication arts professors like Dr. Corey Cockerill have challenged him “to push the boundaries of what I can do.”
Shoemaker enjoys employing the creative world of Photoshop when his vision for an image exceeds the reality inherent in an untouched photograph. Witness his photograph he calls “Mind Games,” which features two photos sandwiched together, the result of which finds him literally suspended in mid-air.
“I saw an opportunity to excel in photography,” he said. “I realized I could bend the world to make people see what I see.”
Through his portraiture, he wishes for his subjects to see themselves in the same positive light in which he sees them.
“It’s empowering to me to be able to help give people confidence in themselves, to relieve their anxiety — that makes me feel good,” he said. “I’m not a super confident person and putting my photos out for others to see makes me feel like a more outgoing person. That’s how I want others to see me.”
As he experiments in both photography and with image-altering Photoshop, Shoemaker wishes to convey emotion and a sense of transcendence in his work. He declares success when his viewers either share his emotion upon viewing or even discover a contrasting emotion from the image.
“If they’re feeling what I want to portray, cool; and if it’s different, good. I want them to feel something — that’s what I strive for,” he said. “If I show someone a photograph and they say they feel like they’re there, that’s better than getting a hundred Facebook Likes.”
Shoemaker learned about Wilmington College from his high school swimming coach, who knows WC’s head coach, Trip Breen.
“He pointed me toward Wilmington,” Shoemaker recalled. “I visited and the team made me feel so welcome. A week later, I visited another school and didn’t feel as at home there.”
Shoemaker is a three-year member of the swim team, an officer with Tau Kappa Beta fraternity and a stalwart of the Water Polo Club. “It’s a very close atmosphere at WC. The environment here generates friendships easily.”
He’s taking a videography course this semester and looks forward to another photography class this spring. He mentioned how his communication arts classes offer numerous hands-on learning opportunities outside the classroom. Indeed, his videography class is producing a documentary highlighting the local Quaker church’s 150th anniversary of its founding.
“We’re storyboarding, filming, editing — it’s like we have a little production studio,” he said.
While Shoemaker cannot pinpoint exactly how his photography will fit into his career aspirations, he is confident the creative medium will play a key role throughout his life. And very likely the Arthur Ravenel Bridge will have a permanent spot on future iPhones.BACK