Whether on the sidelines, in a balcony, or behind the curtains, if something is going on at Kinkaid it’s almost a guarantee that Mr. David Shutts will be there, hiding behind his camera lens capturing candids, staging photos, and conversing with those around him.
Shutts has played a prominent role in capturing moments at Kinkaid since 2006, when Mr. Tom Moore, director of advancement, reached out to him and asked if he could photograph Kinkaid’s centennial functions.
Since then, Mr. Shutts has been on campus almost every week, capturing a wide range of events, from sports competitions to annual school dances.
“Photographing at Kinkaid has given me a newfound appreciation for Kinkaid,” Mr. Shutts said. “After I graduated, I hardly went back to school for any events. I attended my reunions, but I never really went back to school.”
He has photographed students in the Lower School and watched them grow through the years; he has seen the transformation of the campus; he has created close bonds with Kinkaid faculty and staff. Coach Bobby Eggleston, one of the many faculty members who has grown close to him, said: “We met five or six years ago. We have a lot in common, you know. He loves sports, so we’ll talk about that some and we also went through the flood together. His house was flooding and so was mine, so we spent a lot of time talking about that also. But David is a gentle soul, you know, loves doing good things for people, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know him over the years.”
His photography debut was in 1970, during Kinkaid’s first Interim Term, where he enrolled in his first photography class.
Even though this introduction to photography class only taught him the fundamentals of the camera and the basics of photography, it laid the groundwork for Mr. Shutts’ future career in photography.
He graduated from Kinkaid in 1974 and attended the University of Houston, where he received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance.
He was given three career choices: doctor, lawyer or banker. Despite his passion for photography, he decided to pursue a banking career.
His first banking job was with the Texas Commerce Bank in 1979.
Although he rarely ventured back to Kinkaid, entering the business world made him realize the importance of his Kinkaid diploma, as he was able to connect and work with other alumni.
His career as a banker came to an end in 1995, when Mr. Shutts decided to start his own photography business.
At first, his photo shoots consisted of mainly event photography, commercial photography, and real estate. However after his career kicked off, he started to shoot at St. Francis, while his son, Sam Shutts, enrolled there. Then, finally after 32 years, Mr. Shutts returned to Kinkaid and has remained since then.
Mr. Shutts’ company is not restricted to Kinkaid events, though. He covers a wide range of photography—anywhere between family portraits, wedding photos, president and heads of state photos, catalog work, architectural photography, sports photography, fine arts.
Growing up swimming, playing football, soccer, and golf, Mr. Shutts said sports photography takes a special place in his career. In particular, he said he enjoys capturing football, soccer, golf, volleyball, and lacrosse. He is often spotted maneuvering around the sidelines of every home football game, too, with his equipment in hand and not missing a move.
Next to him, Frankie Wimbish (11) can be spotted shadowing his work and observing his skills.
“One of the most unique things about Mr. Shutts is his ability to make connections,” Wimbish said. “He always seems to know every parent he comes across and will know the names of their kids. He is always kind and is unafraid to share advice, with any student he comes across.”
On a typical day, Mr. Shutts will do anything between one to four shoots.
A few days before every shoot, he researches and visits the venue and talks to the client about what they are looking to get out of his photos.
Because all shoots vary and Houston has unpredictable weather, Mr. Shutts makes sure to bring extra backup equipment every time he has a client. Every photo Shutts takes exemplifies his “clean style.”
He said he aims to shoot tight, focused shots that show people’s expressions and intricate details. Often while he is shooting, he tries to spark conversations with the subjects in order to make them feel more relaxed and to show more natural expressions.
Mr. Shutts said his work with photography has allowed him to think like a camera.
“Every day when I look at something, I view things like I am looking through a viewfinder, as if I was taking a picture,” he said. “How I would crop things? Where I would stand. Where people are in the frame. What is exciting about it.”
Photographs capture the entire truth, Mr. Shutts said.
“When I take a picture of something, it captures an individual or event in an exact unique moment in time. It is never to be repeated,” he said.
With his unique perspective, Mr. Shutts’ work has shed a new light on life here at Kinkaid.
He has taken photos since students were in pre-K and he seems to never fail to miss a moment.