JRP: Shawn Baldwin is a hard working and talented photojournalist that covers his subjects with creativity and concern. We are pleased to share his work and vision with our readers. Thanks Shawn for sharing a moment with JRP Blog.
Shawn Baldwin: Thanks for having me James, it’s an honor.
JRP: Where is home for you Shawn?
Shawn Baldwin: I’ve been living in the Middle East for the past 6 years. I lived in Baghdad from 2003-2006 covering the war in Iraq and for the past 3 years I’ve been based in Cairo, Egypt.
JRP: What led you to photography and do you have any formal training?
Shawn Baldwin: The photography that inspired me the most came from the books I read at school from the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War and later Sebastião Salgado’s documentary projects. I was very interested in journalism and the visual arts while I was studying at Syracuse University and decided to enroll in the photojournalism program there.
JRP: Why photojournalism? What made this type of photography attractive to you?
Shawn Baldwin: After I left University I moved to South Africa and began working at an NGO in a place called ‘The Valley of a Thousand Hills’ in KwaZulu.
It was an interesting time to be there as the country was going through a huge shift towards democratic rule but on a personal level I was fascinated by the people that I met and the richness of their stories and their lives. I started to travel around the country working on photo stories in the slums and in the inner cities and eventually as the news story developed I began freelancing for Reuters covering the political story and how people were affected by the violence.
JRP: What would I find in your camera bag for a typical shoot?
Shawn Baldwin: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EOS 5D, Canon EOS 1D Mark II, Canon 16-35mm f2.8, Canon 28-70mm f2.8, Canon 70-200mm f2.8, Canon 550EX flashes, Rollieflex Planar 2.8
JRP: Name one lens that you just can’t do without and why?
Shawn Baldwin: Probably the Canon 16-35mm f2.8. Its a nice lens but also fairly discrete.
JRP: Describe your digital workflow and the software you use.
Shawn Baldwin: I work on a Macintosh Powerbook G4 and I use IView MediaPro and Photoshop CS2 to do most of my editing.
JRP: Do you find yourself setting a lot of custom white balances?
Shawn Baldwin: Rarely.
JRP: How do you handle image printing?
Shawn Baldwin: I don’t do a ton of printing but anything that has to be shipped in the US I have done at a print shop in New York.
JRP: For you what is the most critical moment of image capture?
Shawn Baldwin: Being in the right place at the right time.
JRP: Do you have any projects you are currently working on?
Shawn Baldwin: I just finished working on a year long project with a writer from the New York Times, Michael Slackman, on young people in the Islamic world. The story took us through Algeria, Dubai, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and looks at how religion and the current dynamics affect young people growing up in the Middle East today.
JRP: What has been the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Shawn Baldwin: Find a project or a story that you care about and devote yourself to it for a couple of years. Try to go beyond the stereotypes and look at things from a different perspective.
JRP: What advice would you share with photographers starting out?
Shawn Baldwin: Work hard, know your tools, do lots of research.
JRP: Thank you Shawn for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure talking with you. I wish you continued success.
To view more of Shawn Baldwin’s photography please follow this link: http://www.shawnbaldwin.com/main.php