Archive for 'Editorial Photography':

Faces & Spaces :: Thad Taylor

February 1, 2012 | Editorial Photography

I’m still working on my Faces and Spaces project. Today I had the pleasure of photographing Thad Taylor. Mr. Taylor is a photographer as well. He got his start after WWII and the stories he has to tell! In fact, I’m going back to see him soon to record some of his stories. The experiences he’s had are relevant to our times today as photographers.

I really appreciate everyone who is helping me with this project. Basically it’s a portrait project I’m doing for personal work. If you or someone you know is over the age of 70 and lives in the Atlanta area please email dan [at] zackarias [dot] com and we’ll set up a shoot. The shoots typically take about thirty minutes and I’ll drive to you (them). As this project goes forward the people I’m getting to meet get more and more interesting. Personal work is a great way to build a new portfolio but it’s also a great way to build your own character as a photographer.

The face shot above is from my new PhaseOne IQ140 back on the PhaseOne camera body with the Schneider 80mm. You could extract your subject’s DNA from these files. I can’t believe the level of detail this camera is able to capture. The 5d came into place for the “place” shot though since that was shot at ISO 1600. DSLR for the ISO. Phase for everything else. I’ll blog specifically about the Phase soon enough.




The General :: Faces & Spaces

December 9, 2011 | Editorial Photography


I’m still seeking subjects for my personal portrait project based in Atlanta. It’s called “Faces & Spaces” and I’m seeking subjects 70 years or older for this project. This is the General. He’s 94 and served in an Army artillery unit in France and Germany in WWII. The best part of this project of mine is not the photographs I get to make but the people I get to meet. The purpose of this project is to expand my portfolio to subjects beyond musicians. I’m not selling these for stock or commercial uses.

If you or someone you know who is 70 or older and lives in the Atlanta’ish area and would be willing to be part of this project please email my studio manager { dan @ zackarias . com }. I need about six more subjects to finish this project. I’ll drive to them and they and their family get images from the shoot. I’m typically need about 30 minutes for a session. I shoot an environmental portrait and then something like this…

What a face right? He is that kind in person! Such a wonderful man. You can see more from this project on my 500px collection.



Seeking ATL Subjects For Project

November 11, 2011 | Editorial Photography

I am currently working on a personal portrait project shooting faces and spaces of folks 70 or older in the Atlanta area. If you know of anyone who would like to be part of my project please email my studio manager, Dan Depew, at dan @ zackarias [dot] com. (z a c -> K <-)

I’ll drive anywhere in the metro Atlanta area for this project. The subjects and their families will receive photos from the project.

I’m concentrating on shooting tight head shots and then capturing an environmental photo of each subject. I’m hoping to find 10 or 12 more subjects by the end of the year. I work quickly and can be in and out in about thirty minutes. Hope to hear from you!



Editing Your Portfolio

I’m currently in the process of updating and printing a new portfolio and I thought I would take a moment half day to talk about the process.

My dear friend, Marc, has said of editing, “It’s like lining up your children and deciding which ones you’re going to shoot.” That quote isn’t going to end up on the front of a greeting card anytime soon but it does get to the heart of the matter. Andy Lee rephrased it to, “…deciding which ones you love more.” Either way, the process can suck but it is a process you need to go through on a regular basis. At least twice a year. Minimum.

I know many of you are wondering why I’m working on a print portfolio. What about web sites, PDFs, iPhones, thumb drives, laptops, etc, etc? Are printed portfolios still relevant? In my opinion they are. That opinion also is held by many in the editorial and advertising world. I know of two leading Ad agencies that won’t meet with you if you walk in with only an electronic portfolio. They want to see your book. The printed output of your work. Anything can look good on an iPad. Can it print? Can it run larger? The devil, and the jobs, are in the details. Wedding photographers know this all too well. Do you want to deliver a disk of zeros and ones or would you rather deliver a beautifully printed album? What is going to live in plain sight? A thumb drive or a book? Which one will be cherished? Which one has lasting value? Which one makes you more excited to deliver? Which one is instant? The book. That’s which one.

A printed book is a thing to take pride in. There’s something tangible about it that holding an iPad doesn’t compare to. Note that I’m a big believer in electronic forms of showing your work. I walk into every meeting with a print book AND an iPad. The book is the best representation I have of the work I do. The iPad holds expanded galleries of work that support the book and hold other galleries of work that don’t find their way into the main book. Things like personal projects, travel photography, video, etc. Eventually I want to have a series of print books that show a range of the work I do.

I’ve lived as a photographer for some time without a book. I wanted a book but didn’t have the time, money, discipline, etc to get it done. Going from having no book to having a book you’re ready to show is a pretty large mountain to climb. Choosing the physical book and making the prints are the easier parts. It’s editing the book that will make you cry and leave you feeling completely inadequate as a photographer. You’ll pray for your strengths while constantly focusing on your weakness through the process but I can’t stress enough how invaluable the process is. For me it’s more about the process of building a book than actually having a physical book to show. Let’s talk through the physical process.

The full discussion can be found after the jump…


Two Weeks On The Road Ends In Montana

September 3, 2011 | Editorial Photography Misc. Photos

I’ve been on the road for two solid weeks now and I can’t tell you how much I want to get home but what a great trip this has been. I’ve been teaching up here in the beautiful Northwest of our country. It started in Portland…

Had a great meeting at W+K in Portland and then I went to Seattle. (I just realized those photos are on a hard drive in my hotel room so here’s a photo that I’m not entirely sure what was going on at the time. It feels like I shot this a year ago right now but it was just last week.)

I had a day in off in Seattle and walked through the hallowed doors of the Wexley School for Girls. If I die and come back as something, I hope I’m an art director so I can work in an agency. They always have the greatest work spaces. Played credit card roulette at lunch with the Chase-ster. He lost. I won. Met Mark Wallace for the first time as he was getting ready for his creativeLIVE weekend. Super great guy and I watched his class off and on that weekend and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Hopped on the Mosquito Express wing-n-a-prayer prop plane and flew to Missoula, Montana after that to teach for a week at RMSP. Spent six days with sixteen students from all over the country. It was a long exhausting week that finished today. Yesterday we were out on a ranch.



The image above was shot with the Canon 135 f2. That lens is reason enough to switch to Canon. Oh Em Gee. Love that lens.

Traveling is a weird beast. It calls you. It’s sexy. It’s the goal of many and then you get into it and it becomes a beast. It takes you from those you love the most. Meg and I have a hard enough time when I’m on the road for five days. Two weeks apart has left us both frazzled. If you read this blog you’ll know I’m not putting two complete sentences together all that well. :)

RMSP is a jewel in big sky country. I’ll be coming back next year to light it up once again. Thanks for all the new friendships everyone.

The cherry on top of my trip was the shave and a haircut at a main street barber shop today. A guy named Steve took a razor to my neck and it was amazing. Guys, go to a barber shop and get a good ol’ fashioned shave. It’s better than a day at the spa. Off to find dinner. I’ll be at the Rhino by 9:00 tonight. Best bar in town! Is it the travel or all the nights at the Rhino this week? :)



Here Kitty Kitty :: New Street Photography

This month’s promotional mailer and the inspiration for a new gallery on my site is based on this poor lady I recently came across in Times Square. Evidently she did not have the proper permit to be posing for photos with tourists and a few of New York’s finest were telling her she needed to get lost. In those words. “Get lost lady.” I think she was already lost. My new street gallery can be found on the main page of this site. It’s called “Here kitty kitty.” (note: using your arrow keys is the easiest way to navigate the new galleries)

This work is a departure from my editorial and commercial portraiture work. It’s taking me back to the journalistic roots that I grew from when I started pursuing photography 15 years ago.

Street photography is a difficult way of shooting for me for a number of reasons. In my commercial work I am in control of every aspect of a photograph. I control the subjects, the environment, and most importantly, the light. Street shooting is the antithesis to this. I’m in control of nothing . I also struggle with the emotions that I am part voyeur and part thief. It is not uncommon for me to spot an interesting character on the street and start to trail them. I’ve followed some people for more than an hour all while stopping for brief seconds to put my lens on another subject along the way. I steal personal moments. There they are just going about their day and I show up, take a moment of it, and push it to tens of thousands of people through social media. It’s fascinating, exciting, and kind of pervy. I love my job. :)

If you would like to see more of my street work, miscellaneous personal photos, and partially completed projects then I invite you to check out my visual dumping ground over at 500px.



Flat Black Cutlass :: Chandler, AZ

May 6, 2011 | Editorial Photography

I spotted this car at a 7-11 and knew I had to take a portrait of whoever was driving it. As I crossed the street he pulled out and drove down the street only to pull over at a cell phone store where I was originally standing when I saw the car at the gas station. I should have just stood there and let him come to me. I hung outside of that cell phone store for thirty minutes waiting for him. I’m glad he agreed to have his portrait made. That reflection on his eye off the window trim makes it for me.

From an afternoon stroll through Chandler, AZ. Shot with a Hasselblad SWC/M. TMAX 400 developed and scanned at Richard’s in Hollywood, CA.



Chandler Effing Arizona

I’m in Chandler, Arizona today teaching a workshop. This is one of our shots from today. All you need is a dumpster.

Yesterday I spent about three hours walking the streets around here shooting 2 rolls of film. Well, I shot nearly two rolls. I shot 22 images and finished the other 2 images today. I’m working on a mini portfolio currently called “Chandler F*cking Arizona.” It’s inspired by a t-shirt that my previous studio manager, Erik Dixon, would wear. It looked a bit like this but with better typography. I have no idea really why I want to call this mini portfolio by this name. It’s kind of against my style yet it’s just something I feel like doing. Who knows. I’m sure I’ll play it safe when I’m actually putting it together. (I really hope I don’t)

So yeah, more walking around with film. Why film? Here’s the deal…

Film costs money and film takes time. So when I’m out shooting with film I’m asking myself a series of questions.

1 – Is it a good picture?

2 – Is it worth the money?

3 – Is it worth waiting for it from the lab?

4 – Is it worth giving up this frame of film for a shot that I might find later that I’d rather have than this one I’m about to shoot?

5 – Will it be worth cleaning the scanner, loading it in the carrier, and making a scan?

6 – Will it be worth spotting in Photoshop?

7 – Will it be worth posting or printing?

8 – Is it a good picture?

If I answer “no” on any one of these questions then it’s not worth shooting in the first place. It’s not worth the money. It’s not worth the time. It’s not worth giving up that frame for a frame I might get later. It’s not worth sitting at the scanner and dorking with all that. It’s not worth waiting for. It ain’t worth shooting in the first place.

How much do you think I concentrate more on each photo? A lot. When you shoot digital who cares? Just go ahead and shoot it and if you don’t like it later then no big deal. So you shoot and shoot and shoot and don’t really stop and think about the process. You also don’t feel really invested in it. At least, for me, right now in my life, I don’t feel invested in digital. I’m just in that phase where I’m adding limits to my work and simplifying. I need to grow. I need to move forward with my craft, my vision, and my work. DSLRs bore the shit out of me right now.

Boy, I’m getting a potty mouth. Probably due to shooting film. :)

Not only that, but I want better quality. Back in the days of film 35mm was for run-n-gun photography and newspapers. Medium format was the ruler of the pro field. Of course large format has even better quality but MF was the format that could give great quality and still be portable. 4×5 and up isn’t all that portable and you sure wouldn’t shoot a wedding with one. Or would you? If any wedding photographer out there would attempt it, it would probably be John Michael Cooper. :)

It used to be a $5,000 or so investment gap to move from 35mm to medium format. In the days of digital that canyon to cross from 35mm format DSLRs to MF cameras and backs has been $30,000 or more until recently. MF manufactures are getting the prices down. You can get into a system for about $10,000 and that is really amazing. Just as amazing as when the Nikon D1 came out and an unbelievably low $5,000. $400 Rebels shoot circles around the D1 these days. I’ll move these Hasselblads to digital as soon as I can but I got into the classic 500 series so that I can switch from digital to film with a click of a release button. The back I’m looking at is $14,000. That’s a heck of an investment but a few years ago it would have been $30,000 or more. Prices are coming down. Pentax and Mamiya both have systems starting at $10k and I know one of you (@MikeSeb) is rocking that Pentax. You need to do a review on your blog!

If you ever shoot digital MF and nail the shot then DSLRs will seem like toys. DSLRs have their place in my bag. They always will but I shoot portraits for a living. I’m not running and gunning through events so much these days. I don’t need to spray and pray anything right now. I sit my subject in place and do my thing. I can work slower and be more deliberate with what I shoot. That’s what I need.

The image above? Digital. Just shot that a few hours ago. The film I shot yesterday? I won’t see it for at least a week. At least. Then I have to scan it and I won’t have time for that for another two weeks. And then I’m going to want to print it. Really print it. Myself. In a darkroom. Damn it. Stupid film.

Cheers, Zack


12/09/11 – UPDATE – I was looking at the Hasselblad CFV 39 back for the V series cameras. It sucks. I’m not spending a dime on that stupid back. Sometimes it works! Sometimes it doesn’t. All for the low low price of $14,000. Yeah, no thanks. I am however moving to a Phase One it looks like. I’ll know in a week or two and update this entry and make a new one about it.

Film. New York. So Maddening. So Great.

April 16, 2011 | Editorial Photography

Starting to shoot film again is like having to learn photography over again. It’s maddening and beautiful at the same time. I had to wait nearly an entire week to see these images! And I haven’t even begun to dig into the 15 rolls I shot last weekend to scan them.

The image above is from the Hasselblad SWC. Super. Wide. Camera. It has no optical viewfinder and you have to zone focus. Read that as “guess focus” unless you want to pull a measuring tape out. It’s a lovely camera and I call it Squirrel.

More to come.

Cheers, Zack

Blackberry Smoke :: First Scans Coming Back

April 12, 2011 | Editorial Photography

My first scans are coming in from my recent shoot with Blackberry Smoke. Kodak Portra 400 NC in an RZ67.

Scans? Yes. Film? Yes. RZ? No. Too heavy (although it remains one of the best cameras ever made.)

I’m moving to Hasselblad.

More on this? Yes. Later. :)

Cheers :: Zack

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