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.




  • Trudy said on May 6, 2011

    I love this. I like the story that a guy with his car tells. I feel as if you can absorb a lot about personality and demeanor through portraits as such. I also like the square crop.

  • Luciano Meirelles said on May 6, 2011

    Amazing how you capture the dark and light tons on this image. And film just makes everything look special. Amazing work.

  • Takki said on May 6, 2011

    That’s the real thing! Film! That’s how I started back then. Your on the right track! Film has soul. That’s what’s missing with digital!

  • Dan said on May 6, 2011

    You were only about 15 miles from my house. To bad I didn’t know you were coming to Phoenix; I would have invited you to stop by.

  • Tim Skipper said on May 6, 2011

    Cool picture. Also the Live class last week was awesome.

  • Jeff Rivers said on May 6, 2011

    Straight outta the CHD!

  • jose cruz said on May 7, 2011

    Love Flat Black on Some cars. The good thing about shooting a flat black car is you don’t have to worry about the reflection from the paint showing you or anything else.

    nice shot! ( Random as hell too )

  • arttriq said on May 7, 2011

    I don’t know Zack – I think you haven’t found your thing with the hassy. I can’t detect your signiture in this yet.

  • Zack said on May 7, 2011

    @arttriq – I agree but I’ve only had it for a month. I’m also using it to approach photography differently than I currently do.

    We’ll see how it goes over the next several months. :)


  • Nasir Hamid said on May 7, 2011

    I really like the name Cutlass for a car :-)
    You know what I love about looking at portrait shots like these? The back story that people tell about how they came to make the image. That for me gives images more life. I like the low angle which gives the shot a more powerful feeling especially when a dude such as this is behind the wheel. You’ve gotta love the dynamic range of film which can be appreciated in a shot like this.

    Zack, I can’t stress enough how much fun it is to process your own b&w film. Settling with the same kind of developer used at a lab isn’t doing your work justice. Do you even know which developer they’re using? Without getting too geeky I can recommend Fuji Acros 100 film through Kodak HC110 developer. It’s still early days for me using that combo but so far I love it. I started out with TMAX 100 but the Fuji negs have so much more bite.

    I’ve started a photoblog with some of my film shots (some digi there too): http://www.simplyoxford.com
    Lots more to scan, lots more to come :-)


  • arttriq said on May 7, 2011

    Right Zack, know your gear.

    It is not easy to see your image mirrored on the glass. Kinda kinky to make a composition.

    Keep up the standard! and the good work and we will see what you bring us the upcoming months!

    cherio Patrick

  • Davis said on May 8, 2011

    I remember my grandma’s Cutless Supreme, it was like riding a sofa down the highway.

  • Eduardo B. said on May 8, 2011

    Hi Zack, big fan of your work here. Can you tell what is the name of that rap song on your onelight dvd?


  • kevin said on May 10, 2011

    Im pretty sure i remember you at gwinnett tech. You were about done with the program when i started. I will never forget steve shaffer lol, that guy was a trip. Im sure doing film now reminds you of all the time spent in the darkroom at school back in the day. Awesome to see how far you have taken your craft and have come back to the beginning again with film.

  • Marcy said on May 10, 2011

    I bought the Field Guide at MagCloud after the last CreativeLive gig. That was the 2nd time I saw you there. Both really helped me a lot. Meghan spoke to me. As a Mom, I struggle with the balance of the artistic & the practical. Both of you being real, talking real, was fabulous. Thanks Meg, the smashed bananas were worth it to me! I finished the FG last night. Awesome stuff! Hilarious, too. Shadow detail – I love the Paul Sanchez cd cover & esp the Amp Fiddler Promo & Gabby, too. I get in trouble with my teacher (community college working toward a photography certificate or associate’s – can’t afford any other school) when I lose detail in the shadows even when I WANT to lose that detail. I haven’t printed a whole lot, but she’s convinced I will have trouble with the blacks when I do. Help! How can I print something like the Amp Promo? Thnx!

  • yyouyouu said on May 13, 2011

    Super great shot! What scanner was used to scan the negatives?

  • Jessica Sweeney said on May 16, 2011

    Somehow, this feels timeless. And yeah, that reflection is something else.

  • matt haines said on May 17, 2011

    Yay, you discovered RPL! And you didn’t even need my recommendation. :)

  • Lyubomir Dopchev said on May 17, 2011

    OK Zack,

    I think it’s time for a new post, I understand you are busy but I like to read your blog…just saying :)

  • Zack said on May 17, 2011

    @Lyubomir – I agree.

  • Nasir Hamid said on May 17, 2011

    Hey Zack,

    How are you finding the Better Scanning mounting tray for your Epson? I think mine will be arriving tomorrow but I’m a little nervous about the whole fluid mounting as I’ve never done it before and a lot of my film shots are one offs, I don’t have a 2nd frame if I mess up the first.

    Any tips?


  • Hi Zach: As always you’re work is inspiring. I had a friend call the other day to tell me she found a stash of Tri X and T Max in her refrigerator — 35mm and 120. Did I want it? Of course. Now I have to figure out how to load that old Rollieflex I have. May have to make a visit to my BPF (best photo friend) Manuel for some technical advice.
    Keep up the good work.

  • That should be “Zack” and “your work.” And speaking of reflections, I love the asphalt reflected in that silver strip along the bottom of the car. Sweet!

  • PhotoAlbert said on May 30, 2011

    Great portrait. I like it

  • Richy haven said on June 8, 2011

    Zack, when the hell are going to do some fresh stuff buddy?

    Have you stagnated, died, given up photography?

    I bought your latest DVD’s when released which bored the hell out of me to be honest. I’ve only played them once as there was nothing of value in them, but that said, I do respect you hugely as a person and enjoy your blogs.
    Pity you seam to have dried up already.

  • Zack said on June 10, 2011

    Damn Richy. Dried up? Stagnated? Quite the opposite. Too damn busy hustlin’ right now. Do you have me confused for someone else? :) I haven’t put out a DVD for awhile now. Talking about CreativeLIVE?


  • Jayme said on June 10, 2011

    Zack- Don’t let that comment get you down, he has no clue what he is talking about. I am sure he thinks just because your blog isn’t blowing up that you aren’t busy, we all know that your working your butt off and that is why you haven’t been posting. You have to be one of the best speakers/educators out there. You are real and teach people skills unlike so many others out there now.

  • Rusty Bryant said on June 10, 2011

    I’d like to see some of Richy’s work and see who is dried up. Keep busting it Zack!

  • I think Richy is just bummed not to see new content. His post could have gone without the “dried up” and “Bored” quips.
    I, like Richy, keep coming back hoping to see new stuff, because it always delivers. And, yeah, when weeks pass without anything new, it’s disappointing.
    But, you aren’t here to entertain us. You deliver a consistent amazing product, and every now and then we get a little peek in to your work.
    Keep the hustlin’. We’ll keep coming back.

  • Zack said on June 10, 2011

    @Kevin. Thanks. I get that. I don’t update my blog enough and I know that but you know, I’m not a blogger. Richy’s comment doesn’t get me down, it just pissed me off because I saw it about 3am this morning as I’m waiting for a new set of promos to dry. I’m busting my ass right now with a new campaign that I can’t blog about and there’s always a ton of stuff on my plate that I’ll eventually get around to blogging about but I have other priorities that are more pressing at the moment. I appreciate those who, like you Kevin, get that. I usually blog when things slow down a bit and I can take time to do so.

    Or I could fill this thing with useless crap like top ten lists on a weekly basis! :)

    RSS readers for the win.



  • Drew said on June 10, 2011

    Wow Richey…. feeling itchy? Need attention much? I wonder if you would have the guts to actually say that to Zack?

    Seriously Zack… don’t take it to heart. I have those same videos (and bought the CL series) and for a newb like me they are priceless. Your teaching style and candor got me to realize that OCL was not as hard or mysterious as I thought it would be. Not easy… but possible.

    Keep doing what you do… haters are always going to hate. Don’t let them take your eyes away from your goals and cause you to lose focus.

    ~ Drew

  • Jon Chiang said on June 10, 2011

    Dried up? My friends and I made a spectacle out of the Creative Live Weekend. It was like a three-day photographic-superbowl! Haters gonna hate.

  • Chad said on June 10, 2011

    As Rihanna says “sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips….” wait I sec, I meant….?!?!? Seriously though, ignore the fool, you’re awesome!

  • Todd said on June 10, 2011

    Hey Richy, sorry Zack’s bringing ya down bud. Just feel free to send any of those old, tired DVDs to me. I’m hurting for cash and would love to have you gift them to me dude!

  • Bo Boswell said on June 10, 2011

    Don’t let Richy get you down, Zack. I don’t understand the mindset of trolls like that, but anyone that follows you at all on social media knows that you’re out there hustling every day. Keep up the good work, and I look forward to reading more of your content when you have time to post it.

  • FrancoisM said on June 10, 2011

    This Richy guy is sooo passé ! Waiting for an update ? ROTFL.
    He missed the last techno train, if he followed @zarias he would know how dried up and stagnated you are.
    Let’s bring a Jurassic era term back: *plonk*


  • James said on June 10, 2011

    I’d much rather see informative and in-depth posts than a post everyday with no subatance. If he, or anyone, wants constant quips of life, then stick to Twitter, Instagram etc. Just do like me, start back at the beginning of the blog and digest it all; i’m up to June 2010….one more year to catch up….and miles to go before i sleep…and miles to go before i sleep…

  • Wing Wong said on June 10, 2011

    Just attended Zack’s OneLight workshop last weekend. He’s the personfication of hard work and humility. His work is amazingly fresh and inspiring.

    Just cuz this blog isn’t updated like slashdot doesn’t mean Zack is standing still, far from it.

    Keep blazing that trail, Zack!

  • Sheri J said on June 10, 2011

    I appreciate you SO much for everything you share. I am also following your comments about your new x100 with interest. I came over here to find out what got you so upset, don’t allow yourself to get too upset over a punk comment like that. You are a well respected member of the photography community and it is a well known fact.

  • Zack said on June 10, 2011

    @Sheri – My next blog post will most likely be about the x100. #nerdfest! :)


  • Barry said on June 10, 2011

    Nice post, awesome blog. Keep up the hard work, I enjoy reading Zack’s blog and inspired by images he creates.

    Who the hell has time to be a blogger, photographer, teacher, husband father…. Probably someone who is bad at all of those things or at least some of them.

    When a photographer has a blog, I don’t think they owe anyone anything… Enjoy a post when it comes if you are hanging around for new posts you probably should be out taking more shots and developing you own skills not clinging on to others talents.



  • Dorean said on June 10, 2011

    Wow. Richy has issues…

  • Rob said on June 10, 2011

    Hey, man, could you hurry up and post some more stuff fro free to entertain me? I mean, it’s not like you have to feed your family or grow you biz or anything. Kthanxbai!

    Seriously – what you’ve put out has helped me be a hero to my family with the shots I’ve grabbed – admittedly, I’m doing this for fun(learned too long ago that i love this too much to try and make a living out of it:)

    So thanks, and get some sleep sometime!

  • (En)lighten(ed) said on June 10, 2011

    @Richy If you think Zack ain’t got anything new, then why the heck do you spend time following and checking his blog?! Too disappointed not to be able to imitate his works?! We’d all laugh at you! Instead of putting a very helpful and creative person down, why don’t go and sharpen up your skills! Or write a blog which no one follows..or can’t even hit a search result in google LOL!

  • Niall David said on June 10, 2011

    Chiming in with another little whatevs on the Richie comment. All I know is Zack’s too busy being a Sucksessful Commercial Photographer to post to a blog everyday, or even every week, and that’s awesome. I wish I were that busy right now. Dude works all day everyday, flies around the country for weeks at a time to give the best One Light Workshop on the planet, all while growing a beautiful relationship with his wife and four kids. I’ve seen people crumble under the pressure of assisting at a Sears portrait studio.

    We’re lucky to hear from Zack when we do. He shares his experience, his life and his skillz with all of us. If he’s what it looks like to be stagnated and dried up, well, dehydrate my career right quick. Thanks for everything Zack!

  • Tucker Joenz said on June 13, 2011

    This is a great pic Zack, love that it was taken with a Hasselblad too!

  • Tonia Johnston said on June 16, 2011

    O.k, Zach stupid question for you but bear with me as I have not shot with film for like 15 years and my developer was Walgreens. I live here in Chandler so I know the sun can be BRUTAL and give wicked glare most of the day. That spot on the car where the sun is hitting could have been horrid but it’s not and I’m really impressed by that (small things make me happy). Is it because you used film that the glare isn’t as harsh as it could be?

  • Zack said on June 17, 2011

    @Tonia – Yep. Film has a dynamic range that holds things like that together far better than DSLRs can do. No retouching done to this scan. Promise.


  • mani said on July 5, 2011

    Late to the party – but this image R.O.C.K.S

  • Jason Broaddus said on August 22, 2011

    Dangit Zack now I want to buy a Hasselblad 500C/M…I miss film. Wonderful shot and story.

  • Noah Andersen said on October 23, 2011

    If I would have known you were in Chandler I definitely would have stalked *ehem* done some street photography of you while you were here… XD Luckily you weren’t here during the summer… would’ve burnt your balls off.

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