“Shawn Reeder –
Climbing Ever Higher”
The following are excerpts from an article that appeared in Rangefinder Magazine, one of the leading magazines for the professional photographic community. I am truly honored to have been interviewed and featured in such a fine publication. I hope you enjoy the story! SR
From Rangefinder Magazine – June 2008
Professional outdoor photographer Shawn Reeder of Bishop, California is always up for adventure in the mountains…the higher the better! For the past twelve years, he has climbed and photographed the mountains of the High Sierra… Shawn has hung off the face of El Capitan to photograph climbers raising money for Peace. He documented ascents of knife-edge backcountry ridges in Yosemite and King’s Canyon National Parks, and has also documented several international star athletes, including Sean Jones, Chris Sharma, and other famous mountaineers and rock climbers, pushing the boundaries of their pursuits in the mountains.
His awe-inspiring nature images have been published in numerous outdoor magazines… In 2007, Shawn began shooting weddings in the great outdoors and beyond, to offer a more personal and cherished service for people.
Shawn happened upon the courageous lifestyle of rock climbing, mountaineering and photography quite serendipitously when he won a contest at age 18. Shawn won the waiter competition and was rewarded with a trip to Yosemite National Park. He invited his best friend, Brad Woods, who brought along a camera but was not using it. So, Shawn asked if he could take pictures and that was when he fell in love with both the area and photographing it. Upon returning to Maryland, everyone who saw his images raved about how beautiful they were and suggested he get into photography because he seemed to have a natural talent for it.
“I did enjoy shooting those first Yosemite pictures and it stuck with me. I started coming back to the park and waiting tables in the summers and met a lot of really amazing people who were also working in the park. They were living a really cool lifestyle where they worked only those three months and then spent the rest of the year traveling around the nation and world climbing and exploring. Instantly, I was inspired by their lifestyles, so after I paid off my debts, I traveled more and enjoyed life in the wilderness and took pictures. After three years, I moved from Maryland to Yosemite, and I worked in and out of the park for years. About four years ago I settled in Bishop, California, which is only an hour and a half away from Yosemite, so I go there often and shoot,” Shawn says.
“I love photographing people, especially when they are not aware of the camera. I like catching people being candid and real. Each person has their own unique beauty that is only theirs. I love to capture this. That transfers easily over to weddings. Everyone is feeling a whole range of emotions at weddings, and not paying attention to the camera, which I get to capture candidly,” Shawn says.
Yoga is also a big part of Shawn’s lifestyle, which he practices daily to keep himself centered and balanced. “Yoga helps keep my body, mind, and spirit in alignment, healthy and flexible. Intensive climbing and mountaineering is hard on the body, so Yoga is a way to balance out the intensity of climbing and is good for the soul. It
brings an inner calm,” Shawn tells The Rangefinder.
Future Plans: Shawn has his whole life ahead of him and he intends to make the most of it by continuing to enjoy the mountains, photography, and life with a passion. Currently, he is working really hard to put together a website to sell his and friends music as “royalty free”, to help other photographers market their business’s through their websites, slideshows, and media presentations. He is also shooting an article on Half Dome, one of the most famous mountains in Yosemite, along with his good friend Sean Jones, a world-renowned climber, who is the subject in the photographs that will illustrate the magazine article. In his travels he has also become friends with Doug Robinson, a seasoned climber who did some of the first ascents in Yosemite back in the 1970’s, and now has collaborated on 3 different articles with Shawn and Sean. For future publication, they are also working on a book with Shawn’s images about Sean Jones’ climbing legacy in the Sierra Mountains. Shawn is also working on a personal book showcasing his beautiful landscape work.
Someday, Shawn hopes to meet a life partner with similar interests and get married and settle down. But for now, he’s enjoying his freedom to travel where and when he likes, with camera always in hand.
Portions of this text reproduced with permission by Rangefinder magazine, from the article written by Linda L. May.