Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Why Black and White: David Shannon-Lier

Nov 06, 2017 - Rachel Jump

David’s meticulous practice delves into notions of the self in relation to time and celestial forces. Learn more about his photographs in the context of black and white photography below:



David Shannon-Lier is a photography based artist and educator. Originally from Massachusetts, he attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. He received his MFA from Arizona State University.  

David’s work has been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Addison Gallery of American Art, the Phoenix Art Museum and more. He has been in shows across the United States as well as abroad, including Seoul, Korea, Vancouver, Canada; Arles, France.  

David now lives in Livingston, Montana with his wife, son and their dog. He is an Assistant Teaching Professor at Montana State University in Bozeman.


 Artist Statement:  


These photographs come from Of Heaven and Earth, a series of long exposure photographs of altered landscapes. Altered elements in the landscape interact with movements of heavenly bodies in the pictures.

The work stems from gap between the knowledge of the vastness of time and space and the unshakable notion that the tiny acts we engage in each day matter. It comes from our notions of belonging to the land and the land belonging to us, from the allure of the single point perspective photography gives us. It is about the importance of a few hours in a very specific place, alongside the importance of the eternal and unending scale of time and space itself. It’s about mortality.


Why Black and White?    


Mostly, I just enjoy the silver gelatin process. I like working at an enlarger more than I like sitting at a computer. I like working with an 8×10 camera more than any digital camera I have used. I like touching the objects I am making while I am making them.

Also, the photographs in the series Of Heaven and Earth are tediously difficult to set up and make, involving precise measurements and hours of preparation. I don’t want them to feel tedious or difficult, though. I want them to feel effortless. The simplicity of black and white and how I associate it with evidence or memory makes it the right choice for my work.




To view more of David’s photographs, please visit his website.