Minimalism and Capturing Emotion In the Everyday

Shawn Roller’s photos suspend us in time.

Whether Shawn’s taking a snapshot of his daily commute to work or capturing a moment at a river in Uganda, he consistently captures our attention and makes us feel. This week, Shawn will be taking over our Instagram feed, sharing photos that evoke his minimalistic yet highly detailed style. Follow along this week and comment to let us know which photos are your favorites.

We sat down with Shawn to discuss how he chases balance, where he gets inspiration and what his advice is for artists who want to get their work noticed. 


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an introvert who has gradually forced himself to be more extroverted. I am a father and a husband. Along with being a photographer I work full time for @txinstruments (Texas Instruments).  A few years ago a few friends and myself started a nonprofit that provides clean water to rural communities in Uganda. I try to take a trip to Uganda each year to see friends and visit the communities that now have clean water.

I tend to always have too much on my plate and am always chasing that elusive thing called balance. I fell in love with photography a few years ago and for the first time in my life I feel that I have found a way to express myself creatively.

Define how you live your life in 5 words.

Striving for balance, adventure, passion.

How would you describe your photography style?

This is always hard for me as I tend to just “feel” the images I take. I think I have learned the most about my photography style through hearing others describe it. Personally, I would probably describe it as simple, modern, minimalistic and detail-oriented. I tend to shoot portraiture, editorial work, weddings and humanitarian. I always try to incorporate more of a lifestyle feel into my work.


How long have you been involved in the photography world? What inspired you to start taking photos?

I’ve always had a deep appreciation for art and music but could never paint, draw, sing, play an instrument or really have an outlet for creativity. I told myself that one day when I could afford a nice camera I would try photography, but never really could. A few years ago, I saw what people were doing with mobile photography and I started taking photography seriously with my iPhone.

I immediately fell in love and have been passionate about photography ever since. A couple of years ago I bought a mirrorless camera and have recently started shooting film as well. I think the thing that inspired me the most about photography is seeing things through a new perspective. Communicating a vision or an idea through still imagery can be extremely powerful.

The idea of being able to capture an image that evokes emotion, tells a story or documents a moment in time is the thing that keeps me taking photos.

Tips for sharing those who want to share their photography with the world?

My only advice would be to keep on sharing, no matter what. There will be times when you are discouraged. Keep sharing and keep doing the thing that you are passionate about. Keep asking questions and always keep learning. Ask for constructive criticism from friends or other photographers or artists that you admire.

What’s your favorite thing to photograph?

I love making portraits and capturing ordinary moments that often go overlooked. I also love capturing empty spaces and documenting day to day life.

Where is your favorite location to photograph?

I love to shoot and explore big cities as well as small towns and rural areas. Recently I have wanted to do more studio work as well, but my list of places to travel to is always growing.


Who are some photographers that inspire you?

Benjamin Heath, Patrick Chin, Chris Cody, Sean D Hames, Whitney Hayes and Sean Franklin.


Anna Lizaur is a Marketing Manager with She graduated from the University of Virginia. Anna is fluent in Spanish and can count to 100 in Chinese.

3 responses to Minimalism and Capturing Emotion In the Everyday

  1. Marti Pattinson

    Over the years I have seen Shawn become more alive and passionate about his photography but more importantly about life. Through his photography he has learned to express himself in verbal and non verbal ways. His photography is amazing and captures real life.

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