Eric Shanteau

Eric Shanteau

Mobile Photography


Photos of NW OHIO


Eric Shanteau currently has a project that involves an instant camera that has already traveled 17,000 miles and is currently in Hawaii. His ultimate goal is to have one person in all 50 states take one photo and journal about it. It’s both an ambitious and clever project that, if successful, will capture so many layers of America. caught up with Shanteau to talk about photography, his current projects and singing Prince covers with Natalie Portman in his dreams.

Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I have been involved with the Sylvania Arts Commission, helping them with the Sylvania Shorties Film Festival and I was twice asked to be a part of the Maple & Main Art Fair. I was a writer and photographer for Twice a guest speaker for the Toledo Rotary and the Black Swamp Art Guild (Bryan, Ohio) I have participated in the OWE Festival, Maumee Summer Fair and Maker’s Mart. I was fortunate to be featured and collaborate with Midwest Living Magazine and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. I organized Maumee’s first photo walk for the 175th anniversary (all for charity) and recently started the Traveling Instant Camera Project. (see below) 

What current projects are you working on?
I was asked to teach a mobile photography class at the new Sunshine Studios in Maumee. Recently, I was sponsored by Otter Box (mobile phone cases) to represent “A day in the life” of mobile photography. Photos and photo cards are being printed for such places as The Art Supply Depo (Toledo), Georgette’s (Maumee), and My Daily Grind (Perrysburg). They have all been so gracious to support my passion. Their encouragement has been a great influence. 

What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?
Besides the typical “It has all four seasons”, we have a bit of everything. (City, country, rural, townships, skyscrapers and barns). Every direction can lead me to an entirely new setting and as a photographer, what more could you possible ask for? The people here have been so kind and supportive and the hometown pride is amazing. 

Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

Serving my country in the United States Army and contributing to everything positive in and around Northwest Ohio. This is our home and it’s important to treat it as such.

Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?
My family and especially my sister. She inspired me and encouraged me to get into photography. Although I’ve never really owned an actual camera, she supported my mobile photography from day one. Eric Ward and Ben Morales and several other local “Instagrammers” who inspire me.

Tell us about your background.
I joined the United States Army immediately following my graduation from Maumee High School at the young age of eighteen. After an extended basic training at Fort Knox, I was stationed at Fort Stewart near Savannah, Georgia. I was a 19 Kilo M1A1 tank driver. I had never been away from home for more than a day or two, and now I was far away and alone. I wrote letters often and I asked for photos of home. Anything would be fine, a street or any focal point that reminded me of Northwest Ohio. This was a difficult transition for me and these images helped me through my military experience until I was honorably discharged. As I grew older and friends had moved on or away from home, I stayed here in Maumee, Ohio. I truly learned to appreciate our beauty that I believe others took for granted. Years later, I began to train for my first marathon. I’d walk through the metro parks. Slowly, I began to take photos (with my iPhone) of anything that caught my eye. I realized that this was my opportunity to give back to others who are now away from home; whether by choice or not. Regardless, people that once lived here hold Northwest Ohio in their hearts. We have a lot of memories and it’s important to relive them visually.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?
“The human spirit needs places where nature has not been
rearranged by the hand of man.” -Unknown

Favorite place for local culture?
Toledo Museum of Art

Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .
Robinwood Concert House 

My favorite place to chill locally is . . .
The rapids on the Maumee River. (Wading, skipping stones, and day dreaming.) There’s nothing like standing or sitting in the middle of the river on an early summer evening to collect my thoughts. Also, Georgette’s in Maumee or any bar with the least amount of bells and whistles and add a jukebox and backgammon board. Simplicity.

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . .
Oak Openings. Hands down one of my favorite places I’ve ever been to in my life. I mean that.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found…
Driving around NW Ohio in my truck. To me, there is nothing like driving around with no set direction and “getting lost”. Windows down, packed lunch, and singing at the top of my lungs. Some of my favorite photos are from doing just this. 

Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?
I work with the great people at Igers_Toledo who promote this great city through photography. We have had several meet-ups and encourage anything positive in and around the city of Toledo. It’s also a great way to network with others through a common interest.

Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.
I think photography can be very personal. There isn’t a right or wrong, bad or good. It’s all a perspective from my personal view and it’s just an honor if anyone appreciates the end result. So, not particularly in regards to photography, but I’d say Andrew Bates and Atul Rawat. They were two of the most liked, creative people I have ever met in my entire life and I know they’d support and encourage me. I miss them greatly.

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.
Spotify,,, and (live music). 

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .
Romantic, Mysterious, Clammy. 

Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.
Songs Ohia - The Magnolia Electric Co.
Band of Horses- Everything All The Time
Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days
Ryan Adams- Heartbreaker
Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard - One Fast Move or I'm Gone

My biggest vice is . . .
Far too often wanting to be alone.

I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.
A Panini’s Bar & Grill. World’s greatest sandwich.

What’s the last dream you recall having?
Very interesting question, I’m glad you asked. I had a dream recently that I joined a band with Natalie Portman. We only sang Prince covers. True story.

The last lyric that moved me was . . .
“You don’t forgive the silence for not speaking up.” - Jason Molina (“Everything Should Try Again”)

One movie character I identify with is . .
Tom Hansen (500 Days of Summer). 80% because I can dance to Hall & Oates like no other..

The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .
An Instant Fuji camera from my sister. Later on, I had an idea to start a project where I would send this camera to one person from each of the fifty states. They would take one photo, write in a journal, and document their experience on Instagram. They would include their photo, journal and camera in the box and send it to another in a state that has not been reached yet. It’s been an amazing way to connect, (once strangers – now friends: The modern penpal), through photography and creativity. Currently, the camera is in its eleventh state (Hawaii) and has traveled nearly 17,000 miles. It will see more than I could ever imagine. I’m jealous and honored.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .
Organizing a photo walk in Maumee for Tori Jennings. A young woman struggling with cancer whom I never met previously. In order to ask others to help (a stranger) with this great cause, it was very important for me to help someone who I never met as well and who was based locally. It’s vital to help one another in this great community.

I want my last meal to be _______________.
Larry Bird w/no mayo, side salad with French, crinkle fries, peanuts and
A Fat Tire draft from Dales [Bar & Grill in Maumee].


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