Jeremy Wade Shockley – My American West

Jeremy Wade Shockley

My American West

The American West is who I am. It was my childhood, and it is my way now. The ideals of the West have shaped my personality, my values, and my decisions.

I see a culture of bravery, resilience. I understand the ebb and flow, the double edged sword of progress, the battle of conservation verses degradation.

I often visit family land in the New Mexico high desert. Paying witness to a way of life that came before me. Old wood cracks and fills with sand. Metal rusts and is buried with time. A way of life disappearing. New economies emerge and a new West is being born.

The need for expansive spaces is no less desirable.

The ethnic multitude who has laid claim to the West is stalwart, drawing strength from both culture and landscape.



Preservation of open spaces and this way of life is vital.

I choose to photograph that which helps me to understand, and explain to others the West as I still hold it in my earliest memories. A historically harsh landscape, beautiful to a fault. I am drawn to these vast horizons.

iPhone photography is a way for me to ‘see’ again, beautifully blurring the line between assignments and the moments in between. The life I live. Documenting my immediate surroundings comes naturally to me. This direct, simple, and honest approach is reminiscent of my first frames as a photographer.




Jeremy Wade Shockley (b. 1977) is an award winning photojournalist and self-taught photographer who has been exploring foreign lands and cultures from an early age. He first picked up a camera while serving an architectural internship in the Colonial city of Cuenca, Ecuador. This immediately developed into a passion for documenting the world around him.

Jeremy returned to the United States in order to finish a degree in architecture at the University of Colorado. Shortly thereafter, he embarked on a two year Peace Corps assignment in the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

In addition to continuing his work in Latin America and Africa, Jeremy has been documenting the American West for more than a decade. Today he is working as a photojournalist for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe.

Jeremy has garnered numerous awards from The Society of Professional Journalists and The Native American Journalism Association for his photography and reporting. In addition to his work for The Southern Ute Drum newspaper, his photography has been included in museums throughout Colorado. His images appear in publications including WorldView Magazine, Headwaters Magazine, and High Country News. His work has been recognized in numerous juried photography exhibitions, and is regularly featured at the Open Shutter Gallery, Durango, Colorado.


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19 Responses to “Jeremy Wade Shockley – My American West”

  • I was pleasantly surprised to see Jeremy’s work appear on burn this morning. I’ve always felt a great affinity for his portrayal of the American west. I spent many years of my life out there and fully expected to never leave. He finds, I think, the appropriate balance between the beauty and the harshness, both of the landscapes and in the peoples.

  • SO great to see this essay. Jeremy, I have seen most of these in your instagram feed but some I don’t recall ever seeing. At least I do not remember seeing.
    It works as an essay so well….and in this context or I should say in a different context works perfect.
    Much better than the tiny screen of an iPhone.
    I very much feel the same as MW. There is a nice balance here…not how MW put it but the overall feeling as a whole from beginning to end. It has a good pace. It flows….
    You really made it your american west. Congratulations!

  • Great work Jeremy, not so much “how it looks” but more “how it feels”.


  • I´m fond of mobile photography, and it´s great to see a work here. I like how you mix different type of pictures, and also the light in many of them. Congrats!

  • You already know how I feel about this essay, Jer. So I just want to say publicly just how impressed with your work I am. Hope to see you and your bride in DC soon.

    Great stuff. Cheers.


  • Great job, Jeremy! Brings back memories of Durango. Hope to catch up with you on the road again sometime soon.


  • I am a fan of both the American West and Jeremy’s iPhone images and have also enjoyed shooting with him on occasion. He shows a lot of great images on instagram…but to see many of them together here as a collection is even better! Good work Jeremy! Very strong essay.Love it!

  • Thank you all for posting your insight, feedback! It has been a real pleasure to see my images here on BURN today, to hear your thoughts on the essay, and to see this body of work published!

    Many thanks for all the support, Best, Jeremy

  • Jeremy. ..

    This essay is refreshing change from the usual landscape work one usually sees about the west. The iphone really gives it a looser approach, kinda reminds me of the difference between how Robert Frank and other street photographers of his generation worked.
    I wish you the very best and hope you keep on living and loving this mythical land.
    Cheers Paul

  • I like these poetic images very much.
    Also the beat of those images, which some look like very loose, and others so crisp and clear.
    Very nice.

  • Awesome to see these here, all in one place. There are also some I’ve not seen before. Awesome stuff. These iphone pics print beautifully btw. My son has just finished a show of iphone pics at a local gallery. We printed them about 15×15 on a 20×20 overall.

    Congratulations for appearing here.

  • So… this is what can be done with iPhone and Instagram in the hands of a visual poet with persistence and vision. Jeremy, due to sporadic and weak internet access, this is my first visit to Burn in days. I just lit up when I saw your opening picture. As one who was also hatched and reared in the west, I’d say you’ve got it about as good as is possible to get in 30 pictures. I love this. I simply love it.

    Superb. Well done. Tag on any other complimentary accolade you would like and that applies, too.

  • Jeremy, great work, and perfect opener!

  • Great great stuff Jeremy. Although I’m not from the west, I visit northern New Mexico often. It has become my spiritual home. This is a fine, even poetic essay that transports me there….with the cadence of a smooth cantor. Much enjoyed this with my morning coffee.

  • Yes, it’s refreshing to see more of our backyard. Nice work Jeremy.

  • MW, Carlo, Mike R, Cesar, Michael Kircher, Brandon Li, Cathy Scholl, Paul, Thomas Bregulla, Gordon Lafleur, Frostfrog, Tom Hyde, Virgil DiBiase and Michael Loyd Young – my friends on BURN – Thank you so much for the insightful comments!

    These thoughts, ideas and insights are what i will carry with me as I continue this work forward.

    as David would say – Grist for the Mill!

    I was also delighted to see that the essay made TIME’s lightbox yesterday under photojournalismlinks. Very honored.

    Thank you. Jeremy

  • Jeremy…
    Lovely, evocative work! as mw wrote, a nice ‘balance between the beauty and the harshness’. Love your use of colour & light too. There is a freshness/looseness that i enjoy here, it gives the work a sort of immediacy (also well edited/good sequence). Well done & Congratulations!
    Cheers, Sam

  • I loved your essay, Jeremy, as I do all of your pictures. I have seen many of these on Instagram, and I’d have a hard time saying which one is my favorite. You have captured the beauty of the southwest and its people. The pictures make me even more glad that I live here, and I hope you keep them coming.
    Pat Root

  • Sam, Pat,

    Thank you both for the kind words…and yes more to come. Simply shifting the lens from southern Colorado to northern New Mexico for awhile!

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