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About

Kevin D Shank – Photographer

In 2005, at the early age of eighteen, my daughter decided to go to Honduras to do voluntary community service work. Needless to say, my wife and I went to see firsthand what our daughter was getting herself into. To put our minds at ease, we stayed in that Central American country for two full months from December 2005 until the end of January 2006. Honduras turned out to be a life changing experience.

I remember as a child how my grandparents talked about not having either running water or hot water. They even told me about their bathrooms being outside. In Honduras, I actually experienced my grandparents’ stories firsthand. My great grandfather used to talk about living in what he called a “refrigerator” society. Now I understand what he meant. The people of Honduras buy or trade for necessities each day. Their main worry is having enough to survive from one day to the next. It’s not like those of us in the United States who have days, weeks, sometimes even months of food stock piled in the fridge or cupboards, water at the turn of a knob, a hot shower.

Honduras, slightly larger than the state of Tennessee, has had the highest murder rate per capita per day in the world for some time, averaging around 20 people a day. My daughter’s work in Honduras exposed us to the poorest and most remote parts of the country.  And even though my friends discouraged me, for safety reasons, not to bring my camera along, I carried it everywhere I went while in that ancient Mayan country. I used this time to capture my first series of photographic work, The Children of Honduras (part of the series).

When my wife and I returned home, we had a new outlook on life: Living can be simple and still enjoyable. So we put our house, boats, motorcycles, and everything else we considered “stuff” on the market. I even brought a construction dumpster to the house to get rid of the “stuff” I couldn’t give away. Some of our friends thought we were crazy. But in 2008, before the housing market crashed, we’d already sold our house. This was a pivotal point in our lives.

Since 2005 my wife and I have visited Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Panama. We also passed through Costa Rica. Each country offers a new perspective on life and how different societies change for good, for bad, even for some places that have stopped in time.

In May of 2012, after seeing the documentary Passport Cuba-My Search for Nicolita, a fire was sparked in my wife and she wanted to see her Cuban heritage and where her family came from. We traveled to the beautiful country of Cuba, along with the surrounding Caribbean Islands.  Not only did this allow me to experience the Cuban culture firsthand, but I also captured images showing the effects of 50 years of 90 miles of separation.

In September of 2012, we returned to Honduras for four weeks, and I helped as a volunteer in the construction of a building used for worship. While there, we also experienced time at the largest lake in Honduras, Lake Yajoa, which lies in depressions formed by volcano’s.

Lake Yojoa Honduras

Lake Yojoa is beautiful and untouched.

What is important in life is different for me now. I realize how we have very little time here, and I’m determined to set my priorities and use my experiences to help people “see” how others and their cultures live. My hope is that anyone who views my photographs realizes that there is a better life possible in the future.

My various bodies of work are reflections of how different societies have changed or have not changed over time. Since 2005 my wife and I have spent over 24 weeks traveling and capturing experiences. Please explore and enjoy as we share our experiences.

Credits:

Received Art & Science Council Grant to further Cuba Project 3-2014

Exhibition with Sonja Handelman Meyer, Charlotte Mint 2-2014

Exhibition Park Place Gallery 4-2013 – 10-2013

First Place – Mooresville Artist Guild Photography Show- Black & White, Aguacate 7-2013

Nomination by Juried selection, Artsi  Charlotte- Non Latino Photographer  6-2013

Published Viva Travel Guides – Honduras 2009