The Sarnia Journal has partnered with local photographer Art Connolly to feature his captivating “Humans of Sarnia” series as he delves into the lives and experiences of everyday people in Sarnia. Follow his series on Instagram and Facebook
Chasing His Dream – A Photographic Journey
By Art Connolly
Allow me to introduce you to Shaun Antle, a masterful storyteller whose roots trace back to the storied landscapes of Newfoundland and Labrador. Conversations with Shaun are comfortable, a testament to his love for storytelling, undoubtedly inherited from his ancestral ties to a land steeped in the tradition of tales passed down through generations.
But Shaun’s artistry doesn’t solely reside in his words; it flourishes through the gift of his photography. His profound passion for capturing moments is palpable, evident in the soul-stirring visuals he creates and the passion with which he discusses his craft. As he’ll tell you, his journey began in childhood when a camera became his constant companion, honing his skills during sun-soaked summers along the Eastern coast.
Though he identifies as a professional musician, specializing in the rhythms of a drummer, Shaun’s photographic endeavours have offered him therapeutic solace, helping him navigate the shadows of childhood sexual abuse. Despite four years of counselling, he attests that it’s the harmonious blend of photography and music that has provided him the strength to endure.
Shaun’s foray into the digital realm of photography began with a modest 2-megapixel camera, embarking on a life-altering voyage to Africa. Since then, he has travelled over the diverse landscapes of not only North America, but across Europe, Scandinavia and the Caribbean.
Mental health has been a lifelong struggle for Shaun and the COVID-19 lockdown added to his mental toll, a challenge shared by many. Depression weighed heavily on him, but within the confines of solitude, he discovered the therapeutic balm of photography. His newfound time became a canvas for his nature-inspired adventures, a sanctuary where he found solace. Shaun shares, “No matter how angry or frustrated I was, as soon as the camera goes up, I am better.”
Editing his own photos wasn’t initially Shaun’s forte, but the lockdown provided the canvas to master this intricate art. Today, he wears a smile as he proclaims, “I love shooting, editing, and sharing!” At one point, his hard drive was hosting over 100,000 images, a testament to his dedication.
Shaun’s faith in Sarnia’s diverse community of talented photographers fuels his commitment to collaborative ventures. He eagerly reaches out to fellow photographers, a testament to his willingness to learn and share knowledge.
A mere three year ago, Shaun sold his first print, and today, his images can be viewed on the walls of the Ailsa Craig Arts Centre in an exhibition titled “Chasing a Dream: My Photographic Journey,” running until September 23, 2023. His work has been featured by publications such as Canadian Geographic, Canon Canada and published in the Amateur Photography Magazine. He’s even in the final round of jurying in the prestigious IPA’s (International Photography Awards) At present, he’s diligently crafting a calendar set to illuminate the year 2024 with his artistry.
Curious about his life motto, I inquired of Shaun. He responded with an infectious smile, revealing a tattoo that reads “Never Give Up” on his arm. His T-shirt proudly proclaims, “Capturing Moments, Creating Memories.”
“Humans of Sarnia” founder Art Connolly is a man fuelled by curiosity and a passion for connecting with people in Sarnia. Inspired by the renowned “Humans of New York” series, with a camera in hand, he captures the very essence of the individuals he encounters, preserving their stories through his lens.