As you know, there’s something wrong with me. I’m not a social person, I don’t like the glamour of this job and I don’t need it to feel good in my life. But because you are a lot coming back every single day, you keep posting questions and questions… you deserve these lines.
I only shoot what I like not following trends or big names because of the money. I can do it today but I did it even when I was 20, I preferred to make money with any job instead of working with some art directors telling me how to take pictures.
On February 2020 it will be the 29th anniversary of the Joey Shaw, the stage name I registered because in those years in Milan everyone that was shooting fashion had to have a stage name and not sounding like an italian name… so I picked the Joey Shaw you all know.
I’ve been bringing coffees for many years, cleaning studios and toilets and painting those white walls in so many studios around the globe.
I’ve seen every good and bad in this business.
I’ve always been fighting with people working at the mags or at the ad agencies because they wanted to change me and my creativity… because of the money.
I was always only interested in the creative side of this business, no matter of the money or the glamour.
I always had a rule: if you want Joey Shaw on location, if you accept the budget, you must know that I do not shoot tethered because a fuc…ing art director needs to see the shots on a monitor. They can see the pics when I say we have the right shots. I do not shoot with flashes if I can and I don’t care what others think.
I want respect for the people working with me, because we are lucky to have the budgets for the best professionals and we must let them do their job not telling what to do.
I’ve been lucky enough, that’s right, but it wasn’t easy at all.
At the beginning I was sleeping wherever in Paris, LA, NYC and London. I slept at the airports, on the beach, at the railway station and even on cars. So many times I slept in the same apartments with models without telling to the agencies and so many times some actresses invited me to stay at their houses; in some ways I was like a homeless in those years looking for what was the cheapest way to travel and take pictures. But I made the best friends ever, the real ones.
I didn’t have that much money and traveling was very expensive those years, so I had to make some choices. Films and slides were really expensive in those years and then the best labs for prints were not really cheap. But it was part of the game because there’s no cheap in photography, but only a one way High Level solution.
But then something changed in my life, I had a list of agents in every single town and I started to live in hotels that I began to call home.
I was literally living in 5 stars hotels and flying almost every day of my life for so many years.
Probably the people at the airport lounges and the cleaning ladies at the hotels were like my best friends in those years.
I was living the life I always wanted… but something was missing. I didn’t know what exactly, but something was still missing… I used to be tired so much tired that I was forced to be creative because of the contracts. I was lost. Totally lost.
7 years and a half ago I had my answer. My daughter came into my life and everything changed. In a few months I broke contracts with my agents, paid penalties and followed my real life, not at all glamour, not at all social, but so much fuc…. real, exactly what I needed.
This part of my life also gave me the perfect time to think about what I really wanted, what I was looking for and what I’m still up to do.
Photography has been my life since ever, nothing and no-one can change that. I still have the same passion I had at 20 years old.
I produced so many personals in the last 7 years that I’m thinking to make another photo book, maybe in 2021, but meanwhile I’m back with the Arcadia guys and not because they forced me, but because they’ve been waiting for me for all this time.
I’ll be shooting what inspire me the most and what or who I like the most. I don’t need anything else, I love photography and I don’t care whatever is around this business.
I can live without posting on socials (even if my manager will kill me for this), I can even live with no likes or retweets, because photography is our own chance to see the world in a creative way, and we don’t really need someone else to tell us if we did it right or wrong.
Get inspired and never listen to the others, do what you like and never let the money change your point of view, it’s not worth it. Life is too short to live in a way that we don’t like, to shoot a picture we don’t feel just because of the money or because of the likes.
So, thank you for asking, thank you for being back on my website, thank you for waiting for so long. I don’t think I deserve all of that, but I’m really grateful for that.