Interview with Simi Shonowo
Simi Shonowo is a talented and passionate photographer from Texas, to view her photos is like taking a peek into her soul. Whatever style Simi uses in her photos, you can bet it will always come out pleasant to the eyes and stimulating to the mind. Simi is also passionate about her faith in Christ, her photos either make you think about God’s beautiful creation and transforming grace or simply makes you chuckle at her refreshing humor. Lets get into this exciting interview.
1. Welcome to INSPIKS, please introduce yourself. Please tell us where you’re from and how you got started in the field of Photography?
I am Simi Shonowo, artist and scientist. I say artist, because a lot of the things that I do, has the feel of creating art to it. Also scientist, because I like to know how to make things work, so that I can use them to do what I need to do. I was born in DC and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. I now consider myself a native Texan; was not born here but, got here as fast as I could. I am a self-taught photographer who was trained in art. I have been shooting a camera since my 120 with a flash cube. I liked art a lot but, really took to photography, because of how fast I could capture what I saw. My earliest memory of artistic satisfaction is, completing the photo of a Peter Rabbit scene for art class and I was totally beside my self, because I got the photo down to the last detail.
2. How were you led to become a Christian and how does your faith in Jesus Christ impact the way you approach photography?
I accepted Christ at age 9 from hearing the clear gospel preached in raw form, I had never heard the gospel message before but, as soon as I heard it, I did not know why, but I believed and gave my life to Christ. I walked the best I knew how with support. Solid discipleship came at my mentor and best friend’s dining table, where she carefully shared her life and what it means to walk with Christ. My favorite quote is
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else” by C.S.Lewis
I love this quote because, it exactly explains how being a disciple of Christ has affected not only my photography but whole life. A lot of times, I take a photo and then I get the words that really speak to me and bring the photo to life. The Lord has helped me to be a person who thinks in pictures and to really meditate on scripture with photography.
Another thought from Eric Liddell, “I believe that God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. When I run, I feel His pleasure.” that cements how Christ has affected everything I do. When I take photos, I am worshiping the Lord with my talent and it is amazing how being who God designed me to be in this capacity, satisfies. In summary, being Christ’s disciple has immensely affected how I see and choose what I do.
3. How do you use your photography in your local church?
To help, I have record various events, shoot some portraits and kind of tell the stories in photo. Also, I tend to be the person who gives advice on camera equipment and I have hosted several photo walks to bring photographers together in the community.
4. Your photos are refreshing and have an incredible range of styles. What style of photography do you prefer and why?
My preferred style of photography is, photography that is done from a fresh angle. When I say that, I mean when you see a photo of the same things everyone else have seen, but taken in a way that makes you think, “I wish I had taken that photo!” I like that because, I am learning to see and enjoy where I am and being able to see everyday in a fresh way, helps that goal.
5. I see that you take delight in capturing objects that are insignificant or inanimate and making them come alive. What are your thoughts on those compositions. Tell us a little about this artistic approach.
My thoughts on the compositions are that they kind of grew out of having to take a photo every day and not being able to have new fantastic things to see, but having to take photos of the same objects I see every day. In drawing, you have to make something flat look like it has dimensions. So when approaching an object, I walk around it, look at it, and then take a photo of it from a different angle that gives it that dimension you give when you are drawing.
6. From your point of view, what is the most interesting thing about taking photos, does it affect how you see the world around you?
The most interesting thing about taking photos is that, I now see the things that are in front of me, that I would normally miss. After I take a picture and people see it, the comment I get most often is, “I did not see that!” Photography has really made me more observant.
7. Are you inspired by what you are thinking, feeling or seeing when you are taking a shot. How does your senses play a role in your artistry?
My senses have a lot to do with how I take a shot and I have to see the photo before I can take it. My mood affects the photos I see to take. I have taken photos in all kinds of moods. I seem to get the most responses when I take a photo as part of my discipline and I was not in the mood to shoot.
8. Tell us a little about your company, Uche Photography.
Uche Photography was started 4 years ago. I shoot events, portraits, and art photos to tell unique stories. My goal with Uche Photography is to create photos that not only represent my vision, but is a collaboration with clients to bring their photographic vision to life. Part of the goal is to bring the vision to life while all involved are having fun. Photography is as much about the memory and experience of the photo as well as the photo itself; consequently, my philosophy is to have fun while capturing real-life stories.
9. Who are your favorite photographers?
The long list of my favorite photographers are:
- Ross Oscar Knight – I just love the way he sees things and the passion he has about what he does
- Scott Kelby – He inspires me to share what I know about photography. They say you retain 95% of what you teach
- Lim – Like his black and white vision
- Kristin Manson – Just talented and you see her joy of life in her photos
- Mike_tn – Love how he combines photos to make composites
- Jon Madison – looking through his eyes has helped me see things very differently
- Rosy Outlook – Talented story telling in photos
- Karen – Artistic eye
- Emmy – Amazing documentary photographer
- Eugene – Great portrait photographer
- Rosie Anthony – Amazing eye for the details of things and the queen of panning
- Dave Wilson – Unique pov
- Phisch – Variety of views and processing
- Geri-Jean – Love her eye
- Girl Hula – Simplicity of her work
- Kristi – Amazing miniature work
10. Are there any websites that you like to visit for inspiration?
Blogs I follow:
- Ross Oscar Knight Photography
- Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider Blog
- Joe McNally’s Blog
- Dave Black Photography
11. Can people contact you for freelance work?
Yes. I would love that!
12. Thanks again for providing INSPIKS with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
I would encourage readers to keep walking daily with the Lord and He will take them far beyond what they thought possible, “beyond the beyond”. God can do anything, far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it, not by pushing us around, but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (NASB)
I am way far beyond what I thought possible when I first started following Christ. He has really changed me and has done some awesome stuff. When we follow Him, even the sky is not the limit! Thank you so much for selecting me for the interview. Inspiks is one of my favorite groups on flickr and I have gotten a lot of encouragement and inspiration from the group. I have made some of the coolest friends there too that I will have not only in time, but in eternity!