We had the good fortune of connecting with Shayne McGuire and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shayne, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have always had a camera in my hand. I remember at my dad’s funeral, there were only 2 photos there that I didn’t take, and that was because, they were before I was born. I had a neighbor one day, look at some of my images and say, ‘ you have a great eye, now, we need to get you off that point and shoot and get a real camera in your hand. So, I was handed an all manual camera, it did nothing for you, you had to do it all. After a while I was developing my own black and white film in my apt. I wanted to learn to print my color images too. So, I joined an accredited photography school. The first night, there was about 90 people in the class, they all had top end expensive cameras, all auto focus, and here I sat, with my manual camera, feeling so left out. The teacher then said, “everyone switch off auto and go to manual. “: A huge gasp went through the crowd, and I said “that’s easy, I am already there”. He called me up in front of the class, asked to see my camera, an old Olympus OM10, and said, ” you will be helping me with the class”.
I learned how to use the color lab and I started going to small festivals and selling my work, I soon graduated the school, but still signed on, printing my work in both the color and the b/w labs, and helping new students learn how to use enlargers, fix color, what chemicals worked better in b/w etc. The head of the school came to me one day and said, ” I have a job for you”…I said “what, lab tech?” He said “even better, I want you to go sign up and get your teaching credential”! “My jaw dropped and I replied “why me, all the teachers on staff are very technical, and I am more visual, ” He replied “I know, we need you, I watch how you help others, you have a great style, You combine knowledge with humor and make it easy to learn from “. So, I went to school, got my teaching credential, and came back to the school as a teacher. I also graduated from small festivals to bigger art shows, where I had to be juried into .
This was a good business for me until digital hit. People weren’t into buying art anymore, they wanted to take their own images. So, I had to close down my art business and reinvent myself. I thought, I can take people on photo safari’s, Teach them and give them a great experience at the same time. This also led me to getting hired on expedition ships, and working with people in the Arctic and Antarctic.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My favorite art is nature/wildlife and light. It always excites me to see new things and places. But when working tours and on ships, one may visit the same place many times. The trick is to see it new each time. When you have guests with you, remember it is their first time seeing it. In Antarctica, it takes over your soul, people come for the penguins, I come for the ice. The textures, the forms, the light, makes each piece different. Being female, my job can be harder at times, There are people that don’t want to learn from a woman. I have learned , you can’t help everyone. Save yourself for the ones that want to learn. Some have come on tours just to argue and try and show me and others how much they know. It is hard to let it go, but you have to, and move on to the next person. My favorite is when someone is so over come with what they are seeing or experiencing, they are moved to tears. When guests have gotten the photo of a lifetime for them, and hug me. That is what I do my job for. I try to make dreams come true. I am very passionate about teaching people and also, about being kind to wildlife. I try to teach etiquette on the tours and the ships, that the best wildlife photos are those that didn’t involve harassing the animal.
My biggest testimony is the clients that come back each year on tours, some have taken the same location tour 4 or 5 times, because I make it different each time.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I wouldn’t take them any where around the cities here. i would take them somewhere, for quiet, and scenery. In my spare times, I go out to find wild horse herds and photograph them. I have my best friend Charly who goes out with me there. I love the quiet except for the sounds of the horses teeth and they eat the grass, and the occasional squeals from disagreements. Because I work around a lot of people in my job, during a friends visit, we go quiet and non crowded places.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband Danny Sullivan, who has been my biggest supporter and stood by me during the good and the bad. He now has a camera in his hand too, and helps with my tours. My 2nd shout out is to 2 people. Barbara Fogden and Susan Adie. Barbara got my resume into an expedition company with a referral. Susan gave me my first job working on expedition ships. And continues to give me referrals. I couldn’t have taken the 2nd step with out them.
Other: new website coming soon.
My profile image was taken by Kevin Morgan. all other images were taken by me.