This man is unstoppable. He’s been self-publishing his own photographs into books of brilliance for years now. Documenting his achingly beautiful friends in a world that seems far too hip to be real, he produces images that make his audience feel simultaneously familiar and lost, envious and empathetic.
For US-born Shaughnessy, choosing photography as a career was quite literally a lightning bolt moment. Taking a camera out during a thunderstorm, he was hit by a bolt of lightning. When recovered, he vowed to keep snapping away for the rest of his days. He’s now celebrated as one of the most influential and adored young modern photographers of his generation.
His effortless ability to capture ‘cool’ has landed him advertising gigs with the likes of Levis, Adidas, Nike and Microsoft. He’s also been shooting pictures of the wildly famous – from David Beckham to Clint Eastwood. But it’s his personal projects that get ArtRebels excited. And we were lucky enough to ask him all about them ourselves.
Your most recently published project – Stay Cool – shows a bunch of very beautiful hip kids in LA. Are they people you know personally?
These rad and super charismatic people are all friends of mine.
Did you shoot the project all in one day?
The pursuit of fun took place last summer.
How did you come up with the concept and how did people react?
I had an idea, I did it and I felt good. I think the concept of doing something that makes you feel good is what makes something worth doing.
“Try to make everyone take their shirts off” were the immortal words given to you by the photography legend Helmut Newton just before his death. Have you got any tips of your own for budding photographers?
Have Fun. Take Pictures. Repeat.
Who else do you look up to? Any photographers we should know about?
Waka Flocka has a pretty inspiring Instagram.
You shoot a lot of skaters. Do you skate yourself?
Fuck yeah! Skating rules.
Your collection ‘Death Camp’ showed your life in LA’s Death Camp arts community. Has life been pretty subdued since? Do you miss those days?
It’s just a little cleaner but still really amazing.
Check out more of RJ’s work on his website here.