Skip to main content
January 14, 2014

Meet Shanya Smith, a winner of the Puerto Rico photo comp

A month ago, we gave you a teaser of what the five winners of the Photograph for Nokia in Puerto Rico competition could do with the world’s best camera smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 1020.

Now, with them already packing their cases for the once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Caribbean, it’s time to showcase their talents in more detail. We asked each to tell us more about their photography and to choose their five favourites from their competition portfolios. First, we have Shanya Smith from Chicago, United States. Go, Shanya!


“This is the great hall inside of The Gary Methodist Church in Gary, In. I travel here often, I love the beauty of abandoned things and often think of the many stories they have to tell.”

When, how and why did you become a photographer?

I have always been a photographer at heart, I can’t remember not having a camera in my hand. I started taking photography seriously when my son, Ocean started to model. I used to take his head shots, and his agents were impressed and told me I should do it professionally. There has always been something so intriguing to me about being able to take a moment and freeze it in time forever.  I find beauty in everyone and everything. I can find the beauty in a piece of lint.



“CTA Subway Platform Chicago, IL. I photographed a local Chicago musician Charles Pryor. He is passionate about his craft. ( I loved the “action” effect of the Nokia Lumia 1020).”

Where and what do you most like to photograph?

I travel a lot, the world is big, and I’m trying to see and photograph as much of it as I can. I can not say what I like to photograph the most, that’s a hard one because it changes frequently. I love photographing any and everything, I guess you could say I am a photographer of life.  I am very aware of things going on around me that most people just don’t notice.


“Central Camera, in Chicago. IL. The place where I bought my very first DSLR camera a Nikon D70. Shooting with the Nokia Lumia 1020 feels just like I’m shooting with my Nikon.”

What inspired you to enter the competition?

The fact that the competition called for a photo of a inspirational photo of a breathtaking landscape and or of nature. I knew I had the perfect photo, a place I find inspiration in all of the time.  The fact that Nokia, a National Geographic photographer and Talenthouse were involved was intriguing and made me realize it was a worthwhile competition.


“My friends took me to this really cool red covered bridge. Elmwood, IL”

What did you think of taking photos with the Nokia Lumia 1020 and which features did you like the best about it?

I thought the Nokia Lumia 1020 was incredible!!!!! I loved the fact that it worked just like one of my Nikon DSLR cameras!! Being able to change ISO, white balance, etc. on a camera phone was unreal, and the clarity and sharpness of the photos were mind blowing. I also loved the fact that you could edit in camera, that was an awesome feature. I love everything about the Nokia Lumia 1020!!


“My son, Ocean, receiving his first tattoo.”

Shanya Smith has the ability to make the ordinary extraordinary! She is able to capture the magic in the mundane and makes common things worthy of a second-or third-look. Her photography is candid and captures the beauty in things we would normally take for granted,” a client says on Shanya’s website. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.