Shane Rounce

Through the Lens: Shane Rounce

For this month’s feature on a local snapper, we spoke to Shane Rounce, a creative jack of all trades and talented photographer, illustrator, designer and developer.

How did you first get into photography?
As a kid, I used to paint Warhammer figures and then set them up in different battle poses. Back then, I had to wait for the film to process to see what they would look like and really had no idea what I was doing. All throughout school I had a constant interest in any type of camera or computer equipment. I took photos of gaming-related things for a review website I developed as a teenager, as well as using video cameras whenever possible for schoolwork (Media Studies, videos and such). Toward the end of school, I got really into parkour (around 2005), and with that came the need to learn how to properly compose a scene and edit my work. Along with training for parkour and creating videos, I developed a keen sense for architecture, as well as a slightly different perspective on things from how the majority of people see them. We often explored out of bounds areas: Sheffield centre rooftops, back alleys and so on. Most of my time spent learning to use my first proper cameras was in these environments. So, I guess my introduction to photography spanned a 12-year timeframe. I was eased into it over time, more than making any conscious choice to do so.

Porter Valley, Sheffield

How would you describe your style today?
These days I tend to focus on doing two things when I shoot. First of all, I look for strong leading lines in the composition of my image, whether that’s something as simple as a street sign or a landscape horizon – I focus on those lines to help balance the image. Secondly, I spend far too much time indoors, so when I am out shooting, I like to capture the moments and places that really inspire me: places full of colour, graffiti, hidden spots and angles most people don’t see or take the time to appreciate. I’m not sure if I could say I have any particular style; I’m always experimenting with different things and it all depends on my mood at the time of shooting and/or editing. If I was to be labelled for what I’m known for in terms of view count, that’s probably something along the lines of “event” or “landscape” photographer, but those don’t really sit right with me.

Artis Royal Zoo, Amsterdam.

What motivates you creatively?
I just like making nice things. I do follow a lot of other creative people: streamers, YouTubers and so on. Seeing them have fun in what they’re doing always motivates me, so I guess I do it because I enjoy it?

If you could photograph one event or subject, what or who would it be?
An ambitious one would be to attend and shoot Burning Man. I just think it’d be good fun with all the lights and colourful people around. For the most part, I’d like to visit more cities and nice landscapes to keep on honing my skills. I might have been at this for a couple of decades, but I still have plenty of room for improvement.

Champ de Mars, Paris. “I’d like to visit more cities and nice landscapes to keep on honing my skills.”

What sort of picture tends to catch your eye?
Anything with strong leading lines and sharp details. I generally tend to find looking at black and white photos of brutalist architecture quite relaxing, but I’m also a fan of nice authentic (not overly Photoshopped) landscape shots, and irregular photos of regular people caught in seemingly mundane moments. Not enough of that is captured: a lot of photos are posed or faked these days. I like “real” yet surreal photos. If it makes me think, it’s good.

Do you have a favourite image/shoot to date?
My favourite image is probably one of my most-viewed shots on Unsplash (where I’m almost at 140 million views), and that’s the one with a bunch of my friends’ hands on the money tree down Padley Gorge in the Peak District. Everyone was just leaning on the tree chatting and I was like “yo, stay still”; a couple of quick snaps later and I had a photo that a lot of people now use for a variety of purposes across the globe. When it’s an unplanned, happy snap like that and it ends up successful years later, it’s hard not to love it. Most of my favourites have come about that way. More often than not, I’ll prefer to adopt a fly on the wall approach to shooting as I believe those images always have more of a genuine look to them and, in some daft way, I think people can sense that about a photo.

‘Working Together’, a photo taken in the Peaks and now used widely across the globe.

What advice would you give to budding photographers?
Keep shooting. Always have some form of camera handy, even if that’s just your phone. Be critical of your own work and don’t react negatively to others who are being critical, the best feedback is sometimes the stuff you hate to hear. Don’t be afraid to reshoot the same (or similar) subject over and over – repetition is key for improvement. Upload your work and show consistent improvements and change via your social media and keep a catalogue of your images available for people to browse online.

Shane is going through a very difficult time at the moment and if you have the time to read, share or donate to his gofundme page, it would be hugely appreciated. Below is a list of online portfolios that showcase his photography, illustration, design and website development work – do take a look and get in touch if you require any services. // @AceMediaCo

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