Female Film Photographers You Should Know: Courtney Shaw

29 March, 2021

Courtney Shaw is a fascinating film photographer originally from Ohio but living in New York for the past 13 years.

Thanks to the availability of time during the pandemic, Courtney decided to embark on her journey in analogue photography on a self-taught basis in order to develop the more artistic side of her. She hasn’t yet defined a clear path as to which branch of photography she wants to dedicate herself to but, she definitely has a clear interest in continuing to delve into street photography.

How would you introduce yourself to someone who just met you?

Hi I’m Courtney Shaw. I’m originally from Ohio but I have been living in NYC for the past 13 years, so I guess that officially makes me as a New Yorker. I’m into art, music, photography and will never turn down a slice of pizza or cake.

What is the memory that you most fondly remember from your childhood?

Every Winter, my family and I would go visit my grandparents in Florida. I loved spending time with them and going to the beach every day. The beach has always been one of my favorite places because it brings a sense of calmness and comfort to my soul. I like to think it is due to my fond childhood memories spent there with my family and grandparents.

Who were the most influential people during your teens and how did they influence you?

I did not have any influential people in my life during my teens. It was more so the opposite. I had a lot of people who were great examples of what I did not want to be like. I am grateful for that because it moulded me into the person I am today and pushed me to work hard and pursue my dream of moving to NYC.


How did you get in the world of analogue photography?

Learning how to shoot with film has been something I have been wanting to learn for years but it kept getting pushed aside. Once the pandemic started and I was working from home, I would take daily walks around the city and photograph everything that was happening. Since I had extra time on my hands, I thought it was the perfect time to get a film camera and I started teaching myself how to shoot with film. I have only been shooting with film now for the past 8 months but I love it and prefer it over digital.

How would you describe the photography you do? What is your work focused on?

My photography style is mostly urban landscape. Since I am so new to shooting with film, I am still trying to find my niche.

Are you working on any photographic project at the moment? 

I don’t have any projects right now but, I am experimenting more with street photography which is really fun.

Is there any photographic project that you would like to do but have not done yet?

I want to challenge myself and push myself out of my comfort zone so I would like to pick a subject and work on making a zine in the near future.

Which camera and which film do you use the most in your photography and why?

I use a Canon AE-1 and normally shoot with Kodak Portra 400. I like that it is fine grain and produces beautiful tones.

Who are your biggest influences?

There a so many influential photographers, but Vivian Maier is my favorite. Her work is so amazing and has inspired me to branch out into street photography. Gordon Parks is another favorite of mine. I recently saw an exhibit of his work during the civil rights movment and was just blown away.  I also draw inspiration from all of the talented artists I follow on social media. Social Media has been a great platform to reach so many different photographers and their different styles. You can learn and draw inspiration from each one.

What’s the best advice you would give yourself when you started in the world of film photography?

Since I am still somewhat new to film photography, I encourage myself to reach out to other photographers if I have questions. During the first couple of months I had a million questions and I was too afraid to ask other photgraphers. I would watch youtube videos or use Google, but didn’t always find the answers I was looking for. I have found that the people in the photography community are extremely open, welcoming and always willing to help. Hopefully I will be able to pay that forward and help someone in the future who is starting out and has questions.


Find more about Courtney’s Work?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/courtneys_shawts/


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