Deep in the heart of Kearny, NJ lies a young artist looking to pursue her dreams purely for the love of it. Too few characters in the world today are on the pursuit of true happiness, and extinguish who they are for the limelight and dollar bills. Even fewer have the gusto chase something not economically stable upfront, and suffer the rain in favor of a happy existence.
17-year old Shannon Stoia is an artist of that caliber. With her amazing photography, she’s pushing the boundaries of what young people are capable of, despite common misjudgments about the underdogs of the artistic world. At the start of her career and passion, she shot multiple eye popping modeling sets, parties, and landscapes; with an eye for detail that she exhibits, the creation at the mercy of her lens has made for an immaculate portrayal of both who she is and what makes up her world.
Perhaps her most defining feature though, is her perseverance. Despite the decline of financial gain for freelance and independent photographers, she’s stayed the course, never faltering from her path. We sat down to talk about who she is, what she thinks of photography as a medium, and to get a feel of the young woman behind the shutter.
Fameless Quarterly: At what point did you become really interested in photography?
Shannon Stoia: When I was in 8th grade, my art teacher encouraged me to take abstract photos around the school as a project grade. I did that and I was fascinated by it.
So after that, I used to take walks around town and practice shooting and I got really into it.
FQ: Is there anything in particular that you like taking pictures of above everything else you do?
SS: I love taking photos of people, models. I love working with them and composing the photograph, it makes the experience very enjoyable.
And you model a bit as well, right?
SS: I do! And as a photographer, I enjoy that as well because it inspires me and gives me ideas for when I shoot my own photos.
FQ: Is there any angle you're going for when you go to shoot, or do you just sort of go with the natural flow of things?
SS: I definitely go with the natural flow of things. I like to experiment with different lighting and angles.
FQ: If you have one, what has been your favorite shoot so far?
SS: Oh man, I don't know if I can answer that. I have plenty of shoots that I loved doing, it would be so tough for me to choose one.
FQ: In that case, to who or what would you say if you have one, is your greatest inspiration for your work?
SS: I adore the work of Tyler Shields and Annie Leibovitz. They inspire me to cross boundaries and continue working hard as a photographer so that I can reach my goals and become as great as them one day.
FQ: How do you feel about "art" these days?
It's fantastic. Artists have more freedom than ever in this age; and they're taking complete advantage of it, which I admire.
FQ: So you wouldn't agree with the idea that art that isn't being challenged by social suppression is dull in comparison to a time period when those ideas were being challenged and somewhat taboo almost? Do you think that because we have more freedoms and social acceptance that art has sort of suffered?
SS: Definitely not. I feel that the way that artists chose to use that freedom is what makes them who they are and it makes them stand out. I feel that disregarding social acceptance can be important when it comes to art because that is what gives the artist ultimate freedom. Artists have to do their own thing and not worry about being judged by society because that's simply what makes us artists.