Exclusive interview with the photographer
TThe view of Katonah Lake from John Shearer’s home is picturesque. And you wouldn’t expect anything less from Shearer, an award-winning photographer whose glamorous images have graced the pages of magazines. look and life magazines and many other publications.
Shearer and his wife, Maryanne Shearer, a fundraising specialist, moved into their 1,800-square-foot cottage-style home in Katonah in 1990. They were living in a two-bedroom rental apartment in Brooklyn’s She Heights, which they loved, but decided that was it. Time to invest in a home. “We looked up here and didn’t feel anything,” Shearer said. “Our real estate agent told us there was one more place he wanted us to look at. When we went up the hill and saw the lake, when we walked into the living room, we thought, ‘This is so nice.’ I remember that.”
Built in 1929, the Shearers House was one of the first of about 100 homes built around Katonah Lake. The original community, incorporated as the Lake Katonah Club, was marketed as a summer home for New York City residents, but is now mostly occupied by year-round residents. The home’s rural setting was the ideal place for the couple to raise their two children, now aged 22 and 25. The children loved playing in the surrounding forest and by the lake. “This is very much the Rockwell District. There’s something very magical about it,” says Marianne. “You can canoe, fish and swim on the lake, and there’s a beach.”
The living room, with its exposed beams and wide plank floors, is John and Marianne Shearer’s favorite part of the house. It is filled with family heirlooms and photos of John.
TThe couple’s home is typical of the early homes built around the lake, with a large fireplace and cathedral ceiling in the living room, and beautiful wide-plank floors and beamed ceilings. . The Shearers spend much of their time in the living room, which is filled with beautiful family antiques and photos of Shearer. One of her highlights of this room is an elegant mahogany sideboard inherited from Marianne’s grandparents. “Our house is small, but we have a lot of storage,” she says. “I once served dinner on gold leaf plates, and a friend asked, ‘Where are you going to put this?’ The answer was on the sideboard.” Marianne’s oriental, inherited from her grandparents. A rustic rug adorns the floor, a barrel-back chair by the fireplace was a gift from her parents, and a leather club chair was a gift from Shearer’s family.
The walls of the living room are lined with numerous photographs taken by Shearer over the years. This includes an iconic photo taken at John F. Kennedy’s funeral in 1963. Shearer received her first Brownie camera from her father at the age of eight. She won a photo contest when she was 12 years old. look Magazine photographer Arthur Rothstein assists with Kennedy’s funeral. Shearer, who was 16 at the time, was given a press tag and told to “take as many pictures as possible of people who are grieving.” His photograph of the mourning Kennedy family and John saluting his father’s casket became one of the most widely circulated photographs of that sad day in American history. Ta. In 1966, Shearer became the youngest staff photographer hired by the company. lookHe was the second African-American staff photographer. life (The first was Gordon Parks, a good friend of Shearer’s father and mentor when she was growing up in Greenburgh).
Each member of the Shearer family has their own bookshelf. John’s side includes his photo books and a copy of his own Billy Joe Jive children’s book series. Also on display are some of his old cameras and the gas masks he used while covering riots and protests.
MArianne’s more disturbing (but fascinating) photos include images of the Attica prison uprising, Latin street gangs in the South Bronx, anti-war protests in Washington, and Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier in 1971. I persuaded my husband to delete it. Fight. These have been replaced with contemplative photos of Block Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Utah’s Arches National Park. Above the fireplace is a striking photo of an orchid, one of her more recent works in Shearer’s nature series.
Shearer’s photos also hang on the walls of the dining room, living room and hallway. They perfectly complement the Shearers’ traditional furniture, from the mahogany dining table they bought at a New Canaan antique store to the accompanying captain’s chairs that belonged to Marianne’s grandparents. Thing. Other heirlooms include a butterfly leaf side table and dining room silver service (set of 18).th-A centuries-old pewter goblet and an intricately patterned floral quilt in the master bedroom date back to the Civil War era. (Marianne’s paternal family history dates back to her 1600s Virginia, and her great-grandfather was a Confederate soldier.)
The sunroom, which Shearer currently uses as a study, has another perfect view of the lake. he says as he sits there reminiscing about how the photography industry changed with the advent of digital cameras. A unique piece. He added, “I miss the darkroom, but I’m excited about all the new things I’ll be able to do.”