ABOUT DREW SHONKA
In the 1940s and 1950s my grandfather, Richard Hanger, operated a portrait studio in Yankton, South Dakota. When I bought my first camera in 1982 Grandpa had long since retired, but he encouraged and inspired my growing passion. We have a few pictures of each other – those he took of me as a small child in Maryland, and some that I took of him at the nursing home where he was living in South Dakota, until he passed away in 1989. I like to think that we’re taking pictures together, even now.
What I love most about photography is getting to know my subjects, being surprised, and becoming connected and delighted. There’s the spark of the divine in all of us. For me, the camera is a tool that can be used to help people open up, to feel great about themselves, to show some of their beauty. When I get to be a part of that, I feel like I’m doing really good work.
The best pictures begin with relationships, and those can be built in an instant with a stranger, or over the course of a lifetime. I hope that you’ll enjoy my work, and if I can be of service to you, that you’ll contact me. Let’s get to know each other, and take some excellent photographs of your life.
“There’s just no way to tell people they are all walking around, shining, like the sun.” — Thomas Merton