A.J. Schokora
Book of life.
Frames 4w

A.J. Schokora has been taking pictures ever since he can remember.

With his mother working in the local newsletter department, A.J. had always hovered on the periphery of the photography scene, a childhood curiosity that has since become his lifelong passion. 

“[My mother] always had cameras on her…she let me play with them and taught me how they work. So I was always around these machines…That’s how I got into visual art and photography,” A.J. says. 

Born in Detroit but now relocated in Shanghai, A.J.’s photography traces him across the globe, with a portfolio that’s just as diverse as these travels. An eclectic mix of wallpaper-ready backgrounds, casual street scenes and stunning natural locales, A.J.’s vision is beautifully broad. 

While unique textures are perhaps the signature of his work (with shots of rainy windows that you can almost feel), A.J.’s work isn’t boxed in by any one particular style, and this makes for an exciting visual thrillride. You just never know what’s going to come next. 

“I don’t have any favourite person or specific thing to shoot….  I don’t think about style or trying to achieve a specific look…there is inspiration and little stories everywhere. I just follow my instincts and sensibilities and shoot,” he says. 

Perhaps it’s because of this wide-scope focus that A.J. is able to capture life in its fullest and most vivid. Every shot feels like it’s bursting from the seams, with vibrant colours bringing to life the everyday scenery of a side street or the unfiltered beauty of the horizon. 

Although A.J. is inspired mostly by his wide-reaching view of the world, he’s equally interested in the visual imagery created in literature. As an avid reader, A.J. works hard to recreate the scenes of the books he’s reading, and this makes his portfolio feel like a novel or story in itself- a book of life. 

“Reading engages my imagination because you have to create the images and scenes in your head to fit whatever you’re reading. Something will catch my eye that feels connected to a scene in my head that I had when reading, and I am compelled to photograph it.”

Scroll down for A.J.’s full portfolio, and head here to follow him on Instagram. You can also access his print shop here

Words by Tom Disalvo August 26, 2021
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Presented by Tens.