Shawn walker

From Be-Bop to Illusion ©Shawn W. Walker

From Be-Bop to Illusion ©Shawn W. Walker

Born and raised in Harlem, NYC, I see myself as a fine arts photographer with a documentary foundation. I look for the truth within the image, the multi-layers of existence and the ironies in our everyday lives. Working from a Black Aesthetic, my work tries to speak to everyone. For more than 50 years, I have tried to reflect on the positive aspects of my community and to see the relationships between various communities of color. 

A master darkroom printer, I printed my own earlier work. Now working exclusively in digital video and photography, I strive to maintain those earlier standards. In all my work, I have let the images speak for themselves — only using color and my own individual vision to enhance them. In all cases the viewer is an integral part of the art, as he/she interacts with the image. 

In these three portfolios I move from the more concrete/documentary images of the “Ritual and Spirit”/“Parade” series where everyday people get to express the significance of their ancestors and culture to the more surreal “Be-Bop” and abstract “Misterioso” series where found images call to other dimensions of being/understanding.

Finally, I strive to incorporate the spiritual past into our present, so we may learn and find alternatives to make life better: working in black and white and color, analog and digital, still and video/film media. I look into the intersections of dark and light, into the shadows that grow the seeds of existence.
— Shawn Walker

Harlem Series: 117th Street, NYC, 1960s ©Shawn W. Walker

From Be-Bop to Illusion 1990 - 2014 ©Shawn W. Walker


Misterioso Series ©Shawn W. Walker


Parades ©Shawn W. Walker


Wall Series ©Shawn W. Walker