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Rising Stars: Meet Tristan Shannon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tristan Shannon. 

Hi Tristan, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Throughout my childhood, I was exposed to photography as an impromptu model for my mother and my aunt for their classes in photography. I personally started with a polaroid Joycam before I was 10yrs old. I only took a semester-long photography class in high school before graduating, but I was pleased with the knowledge gained as well as a feature in my local art gallery, the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles. 

It wasn’t until my first DSLR Camera was gifted to me by a great friend during early college did my interest in taking photos truly grew. 

After graduating St. Charles Community College, I was let go from my day job of doing reception and assisting with marketing for a real estate company. However, my time spent with their marketing team certainly spurred my creative side and allowed me to step into the world of making videos. I found joy in taking photos, undoubtedly. But telling a story through moving pictures was an unexpected turn. 

It was October of 2018 and vlogging with my girlfriend (now fiancée) turned into watching religiously Peter McKinnon and any other YouTube filmmaking tutorial videos. Soon after, my passion for music met with my camera when I took photos for a local band, Qstreet, during their gig at the Koken Art Factory. It was at that show that I took the shot that I will always regard as the photo that made me take owning a camera seriously. 

Now trying to make a living with my new passion, I interviewed for a job as a photographer at a wedding company in the summer of 2019 now known as Endy Events. However, through showing the managers my interest in vlogging, my first wedding was actually taking videos, not taking photos. After many weekends of weddings, I continuously honed my skills as a videographer. With careful guidance from the editor, I was confident enough to start calling myself a cinematographer. 

When looking for more job opportunities, I met a local poet/artist by the name of Richard Washington. Through him, I had come full circle. My passion for music finally met with my passion for filming. Today, I spend my time filmmaking full-time and work on finding new ways to keep the passion burning. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My journey was a struggle in the sense that my life leading up to me picking up my camera was full of uncertainty. I didn’t have a plan after school, I worked jobs that had no meaning, and I felt my “career options” weren’t futures that I could see myself living in. Just before being let go from my job in 2018, seasonal depression started to rear its ugly face. Being let go from that job in marketing felt like it was going to be the final nail in the coffin. 

My support system in my family and friends helped me feel secure and free to pursue a life of creativity in filming. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a cinematographer, first and foremost. I film and I edit. If you asked me what I am known for, I might say I am known for my desire to film. I might guess that others in my field know me for my eye for shots when filming. 

In all honesty, I am most proud of my passion above all else. I love that I found a sustaining force to embrace wholeheartedly. I am proud that I was able to turn a hobby into an outlet for artistic expression. 

What sets me apart from others is my drive to create and capture a beautiful image. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the role of luck?
I am tremendously lucky to have the incredible support system that I have. To my mother and grandparents, my fiancée, my dear friends, and the fantastic network of people I have met through my filming career. I am undoubtedly the luckiest I know. 

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Richard Washington (@snaptravellocs)

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