A million miles later… never missing a frame Cocalico grad shares his photos with the world

By on March 14, 2012

By: MICHELLE REIFF Review Staff, Staff Writer

Cocalico High School graduate and photographer Shane McCauley is preparing for the upcoming release of a book with DJ and producer Diplo. Shown (left to right) on the road to fame are Steve Aoki, Jacob Lee, McCauley and Diplo.

Shane McCauley can’t remember a time when he wasn’t taking pictures.

The Denver/Reamstown native and Cocalico High School graduate has no need to do that. A lover of photography and music culture since high school, McCauley marches to his own beat; his instrument, the camera.

The self-employed New York-based photographer’s unique style and persistance will pay off in a few weeks with the release of a published collection of photos he has taken for the past several years for Diplo (Thomas Wesley Pentz), a well-known DJ, and producer of acts such as Bruno Mars and Snoop Dogg. Diplo authors the book, titled "128 Beats Per Minute" and named for the tempo of most electronic dance music tracks.

"I feel like it’s going to be a Bible for dance music culture," said McCauley, who met Diplo in Philadelphia in 2003 while on assignment for a music magazine and later began to collaborate on a column for Vanity Fair.

The collection is Diplo’s tour of the world, one which McCauley feels very fortunate to have taken with him. The founder of the label Mad Decent, Diplo has also brought Brazilian baile funk, Angolan kuduro and other unknown music to clubs around the world. "128 Beats Per Minute offers a glimpse into the people, places and music that inspire the producer.

"Diplo has a degree in film and anthropology and musical ideas from the Caribbean and South American regions," said McCauley. The music shared in the book has been big in Europe and Asia for years. "We’ve been documenting these genres of youth culture around the world — how it affects music and pop culture."

Through his experience over the past several years, and along his travels, McCauley discovered that the roots of a lot of music come from other places. For example, hip hop is a grandson of reggae.

Now 34, the photographer began working in the field at just 19, many years before his travels took him to places like United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Athens, Spain and Thailand, a few of the many different countries featured in the book. He attended Antonelli Institute for a short time, but he turned out to be suited more for the hands-on, learn on the job approach.

"I decided you can’t teach creativity," he said. "Working in the arts field was something either you have or you don’t."

The artist began his career in Reading at a wedding studio and later was studio manager in Lititz with local photographers Lori Stahl and Scot Gordon. From there he moved to Philadelphia and eventually New York — all the while, continuing to take pictures.

"I had a crush on a girl in my homeroom in tenth grade," said McCauley. "She convinced me to join photo club with her. She ended up in occupational therapy in Pittsburgh and I’m still doing this."

It turns out the choice the McCauley made early on laid the ground roots to eventually reaching the far corners of the world, just as he did in his travels. In addition to his work as a self-employed photographer, which includes advertising for Milagro Tequila and Sailor Jerry Rum and shooting portraits for Flaunt and Inked magazines, he now has the photo collection, which will hit the stands April 3.

"128 Beats Per Minute" is being produced by Rizzoli Publishing, the same company that put out a book by Kanye West. It will be available at Urban Outfitters stores and also on Amazon.com.

When he isn’t taking photos, McCauley enjoys vegan cooking, re-establishing his interest in cinemetography and looks forward to his two release parties — one in New York and one in Los Angeles.

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