Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A man dressed as the Tin Man walks Hollywood Boulevard.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Anti-war protesters gather in Hollywood, CA to rally against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Twin shows a tattoo honoring his dead son.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Pride vs. Prejudice.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Linda by the Carl's Jr. in East Hollywood.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Untitled.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Anti-illegal immigration advocates demonstrate near Leimert Park in Los Angeles, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

A member of the Church of God passes out literature on the corner of Highland Blvd.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Jon waits to cross at the corner of Hollywood and Highland.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Oree and Betty perform outside an abandoned theater in Hollywood.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

On June 19th, Gabriel Banos Arcos, 17, was shot and killed near the intersection of Vine Street and Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, Calif.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

Bryan looks up to the sky for UFOs.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Shawn Nee

More galleries on Framework

return to gallery

Southern California Moments Profiles: Shawn Nee

Pictures in the News | Feb. 25, 2015

In Wednesday's Pictures in the News, a fire damages a single-story commercial building in Hollywood leaving a woman in "grave condition," authorities said. The cause of the...   View Post»

   

Southern California Moments Profiles: Shawn Nee

Pictures in the News | January 15, 2015

Thursday's Pictures in the News begins in Yosemite National Park, where climbers Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed the ascent of the Dawn Wall of El Capitan. The pair...   View Post»

   

Southern California Moments Profiles: Shawn Nee

Pictures in the News | May 1, 2014

Thursday's Pictures in the News begins in Turkey, where police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters who tried to defy a Labor Day ban on...   View Post»

   

Southern California Moments Profiles: Shawn Nee

Pictures in the News | Oct. 29, 2013

Inglewood: Two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were shot and...

  View Post»

   

Southern California Moments Profiles: Shawn Nee

Pictures in the News | February 15, 2013

Friday's Pictures in the News begins in Russia, where a meteor streaked across the sky of Russia's Ural Mountains, causing sharp explosions and reportedly injuring hundreds,...   View Post»

   

Southern California Moments Profiles: Shawn Nee

Pictures in the News | October 22, 2012

Monday's Pictures in the News begins in India, where a performer disguised as Hindu Goddess Kali performs with fire during Navratri festival in Allahabad. Navratri or the...   View Post»

   

Mitchell Caverns vandalized

Vandalism at a shuttered state park

At the visitors center at Mitchell Caverns, part of Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in the Mojave Desert, vandals cut fences, kicked doors off of hinges and shattered...   View Post»

   

Southern California Moments Profiles: Shawn Nee

Pictures in the News | Dec. 15, 2011

In today's Pictures in the News: Christmas comes early for some lions at the London Zoo with boxes filled with meat treats. In China, a chocolate fashion show is put on by the...   View Post»

   

Vernal Fall at Yosemite

Vernal Fall at Yosemite National Park

Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park is strikingly beautiful. Recently, three young hikers from a Modesto-area church climbed over a safety railing and were swept to their...   View Post»

   

Haiti: Living in limbo - Island Enterprise

Haiti: Living in Limbo - Island enterprise

Boulevard Jean-Jacques Dessalines in Haiti's capital was a smoking ruin when Times photographer Carolyn Cole arrived in the aftermath of the January earthquake. Today the shops...   View Post»

Southern California Moments Profiles: Shawn Nee

Intense. “Like one punch in the face after another,” in the words of one colleague. That’s what one thinks when they look at many of Shawn Nee’s images. His photographs of Hollywood show an aspect of the city that most tourists, and most Angelenos, would prefer to overlook.

Unlike many street photographers who want to remain unnoticed and make candid images, the subjects in Nee’s photographs, which are taken up close and with a wide-angle lens, are very aware of his presence. Often, they are looking right at the camera and, through that, the viewer.

The result is a series of photographs that stay with you long after you’re done looking.

1) How and why did you get into photography?

There isn’t a specific reason why I started taking pictures, and it’s not something I knew I would be doing with most of my time until I was almost 30.

During my late teens/early 20s, my aunt gave me her old Canon AT-1, and I would take pictures of various things and objects around my backyard and neighborhood. I was horrible though, so I would stop and wouldn’t take a picture for years. But for some reason, I never got rid of the camera, and I always kept it packed away wherever I lived.

Then, after moving to Hollywood and being here for a few years, a very personal and serendipitous chain of events brought me back to photography, and I started photographing people. I was maybe 28 then, and that’s when it seemed like I was capable of taking pictures that other people wanted to look at. It was a good feeling, and the experience gave me the confidence to stop putting my camera away. During that time, I also realized that the people I was photographing (who are my close friends now) were affecting me in such a positive way.

2) Where and what do you like to photograph?

I have a camera with me wherever I go, so I’ll photograph anything that’s interesting, but I primarily photograph people now. I focus all of my energy on Hollywood and the people within this area because that’s my neighborhood. I’ve lived here for 10 years, and it’s important that someone document a portion of the people (I tend to focus on the marginalized) that live in this area.

3) Who or what are your inspirations?

This is difficult to explain, and I haven’t always felt this way, but in the last year or so, I’ve been motivated by regret. It’s a topic that’s too personal to discuss.

4) What do you photograph with?

I don’t own a digital camera, so all of my work is film-based. I shoot with a Canon EOS 3, using wide-angle lenses, and I’ll use whatever black-and-white film that is available. I do prefer Fuji Neopan or Tri-X over anything else though.

I do my own black-and-white processing, and I use an Espon 700 to scan my negatives. By doing everything myself, I am able to keep my expenses much lower compared to someone who is paying a lab to process all of their film. In my case, it’s tens of thousands of dollars over the past three to four years — something close to the value of a new Prius.

5) What’s one of your favorite images and why?

That’s a difficult question that I can’t answer. And for me, taking pictures is not about chasing that one great image. I’m more interested in the actual experience of spending time with someone I have never met before, seeing how they live their life.

For instance, I’m really fond of my time spent with Bill Bowersock, who was forced to leave his home after his partner of 32 years, Harvey Frand, died because the federal government does not view their relationship as being valid. Which means Bill was disqualified from receiving Harvey’s Social Security survivor’s benefits — something that he would’ve received if he were the surviving partner of a heterosexual couple. It’s infuriating to know that our federal government is still discriminating against certain groups of people. So I’m grateful that Bill allowed me to spend time with him and gave me the chance to help tell his story in the short documentary “Thank You for Your Call.”

See more of Shawn’s work at his blog, BoyWithGrenade.org and at his website, The Discarted Collection.

Read related article »

1 Comment

  1. June 21, 2011, 5:29 am

    […] can read the interview here, but unfortunately some of the photos that were included in the profile were not shown.  So I […]

Add a comment or a question.

If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate. Here are the full legal terms you agree to by using this comment form.

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they've been approved.

Required

Required, will not be published