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Artist Statement

For me, photography is a potent transformative pathway for Self-discovery more than it has been about learning how to make great images.  My primary exploration has been the luminous landscapes of my own interior world.  From a place within, the wildlands and creatures of our great planet have provided amazing opportunities to learn about myself and my connection with the world around me.
There has been a core question lying at the heart of my passion for nature photography. I want to know, how can I see the magic of the wild world through the eyes of my Soul? Is it possible to see and experience the world around me in ways that transcend the habits of my mind and ordinary ways of seeing things?
Decades of yoga and meditation have helped me understand that the boundary between my internal and external world is a very thin veil, more like a fluid membrane than an actual boundary that separates me from the world around me.  Years of sitting in stillness and quietude have allowed me to see that "this space in between" my experience “in here” and “out there” easily blurs, depending on the quality of my presence. This realization has had a profound impact on shaping my creative expression through photography.
Over the years, I have come to know “this space in between” not as a barrier of disconnection but rather as an interchange of creative exchange. When I inhabit this space in between, photography is much more than what I see; It allows me to see into, through and beyond the forms in front of me to the source of my soul and seeing itself. From a place of pure presence, it’s not about what I want to see, but rather how reality wants to be seen.
I love photography because it offers such a powerful and immediate reflection of how available I am to any given moment. It’s about so much more than just a good eye or keen observational skills. My most powerful images aren’t cleverly constructed representations of what I saw at the moment, they’re reflections of my true essence as pure presence. Every time behind the camera, every luminous landscape feature, every wild and wondrous creature becomes a potent reflection of something stirring within my soul.
With every wondrous gaze, light enters my eyes, awakens my mind, enlivens my heart, and dissolves the division and delusion of separation. From the inseparable experience of unity, the camera is not something I “look at” the world through, the world becomes something I see myself as. Photographs are no longer frozen fragmented extractions of a moment forever lost, images become holographic reflections of the precious whole in every part.
I love to love and love to teach, it is my path and purpose for this life. For the last 30 years, yoga, meditation, and embodiment practices have been the medicine of my teaching.  2019 marks the full-time transition to photography, now it is the primary lens through which I choose to shine the light of my teaching.
I have spent 5 years developing a mindfulness-based teaching called VisionQuest Photography. It’s a synthesis of photography, integral ecology, nature mysticism, and conscious creativity. The impetus for this teaching stemmed from the question: “What role do nature photographers have in reversing the climate change crisis?”
Is it possible a new generation of more conscious, connected, and creative nature photographers could show humanity a different way of being in relationship to the natural world? VisionQuest helps photographers awaken their unique creative expression while pioneering visionary ways of conserving and communing with the natural world.
In love as light,

Shane McDermott

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