Shawn Escoffery is a Harlem New York based photographer who uses his passion for life and the built environment to uncover beauty in images of every day life often overlooked. From a child gently kissing a father’s cheek showing affection on a crowded subway train, to the worn expressionless face of one of New York’s homeless or simple architecture, Escoffery seeks to capture the unseen and open new worlds to the viewers of his work. With a Masters degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Escoffery has spent the last ten years working in urban and distressed areas across the country trying to make improvements to the physical landscape and helping the people who live in these areas move towards self-sufficiency. His commitment to this sector has manifested in some of his recent photo essays as he explores combining social advocacy with photography. “Lives Forgotten” is a ongoing series on homelessness where he Escoffery volunteers with The New Life Project, a New York based homeless advocacy organization, shooting images of the homeless for fundraisers and the agency’s publication. His “Lost Innocence” series explores the world of children born into poverty with images of children playing in the streets unaware of the despair and decay of their surroundings. Escoffery’s most recent series “One Year Later: New Orleans” documents the devastation left by one of the countries greatest natural disasters. Worn streetscapes dotted with empty foundations, mountains of debris, dilapidated houses and dreams washed away in a storm, Escoffery’s images of New Orleans show the realness of a true tragedy.
A well traveled individual, Escoffery hopes to share some of the sights, smells and feelings he has encountered throughout his many trips domestically and internationally. He aims to allow the viewer to step into the picture and become part of that moment – to feel the mood expressed in a subjects eyes or the sadness painted by light and shadows. Brazil, Jamaica, Mexico, Japan, Australia, France, and China are a few of the international back drops in many of Escoffery’s work. He has spent extensive time in Japan and his fascination with the country and Asia in general has produced a continuously growing body of work entitled, “Unmette shinjiur?” where he captures all aspects of life in Japan from populous cities like Tokyo to rural rice filed villages in southern Kyushu.
Shawn Escoffery holds bachelor degrees in English Literature and Political Science from Rutgers University and a Masters Degree in City Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds a certificate in international development and communications from the Heinz School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. He continues to work with community groups and volunteers at a number of community based organizations aimed at improving the lives of inner-city residents.
His work has been exhibited in several galleries in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Shawn shoots with passion and intensity – this energy is brought to all of his projects as he hopes to produce intriguing images that provoke lasting discussions.