Knoxville wedding and portrait photographer Shannon Stanfield has laid down his camera for the last time. After a long battle with cancer, Shannon died on Sunday, February 28,2010. He was 45.
This writer worked with Shannon at Thompson Photo Products about 20 years ago. He seemed like the classic extrovert, always talking, always friendly, always entertaining to listen to. Upbeat and funny, totally gregarious, completely comfortable in social mixers, Shannon never stopped making new acquaintances and friends. As one person said, “He knew everybody.”
His knowledge of rock and roll seemed encyclopedic, and he found equal enjoyment in talking about Elvis, or the Beatles, or classic rock, or heavy metal. He said one time that he preferred the music of the later Elvis to the younger one. He also enjoyed expressing himself musically as a singer and guitarist in a long-lived band called “The Clintons.” Many more people became acquainted with Shannon through his music than through his photography, but it was photography that he eventually turned to as a career.
Shannon embraced “retro” in his photography, beginning his photo career with a used 20-year-old Pentax screw mount camera. The camera became part of his persona as a photographer, and most people accepted it because—well, Shannon was Shannon. The picture quality was quite good, even if the camera was old. People did not care about the camera; it was Shannon they were buying into.
Early in his photo career, Shannon primarily shot for publication. Soon, he began doing weddings and portraits, also, and he found that he enjoyed it, and it was a way to make money. He built up his wedding business gradually, and eventually he had several other people helping him. He later opened a studio and offered portrait sittings. Things were looking very good for the future.
Then cancer struck. And it essentially wrote the rest of his life story.
He left a son, 13, and a daughter, 9. He left numerous relatives who loved him and many, many friends and acquaintances who are saddened by his passing. And Knoxville culture has lost one of its endearing personalities.