An Impossible Birthday :: Impossible Project 8×10 :: Hey. I’m 40.

December 10, 2012 | Events Family

impossible project 8x10

You ever get the feeling you have to shake it all up? Ever long for something you haven’t done in years and years? Ever get intrigued by something and you have to figure out a way to try it? Ever get tired of the DSLR? Does winter hit and you go looking for some sort of creative defibrillator?

I never feel this way. Ever. And that’s a total lie.

It’s winter time. I’m off social media and nearly done with all of my commitments for the year.  I’ll be head deep in shooting new work until the spring. It’s going to be a kick ass winter. It will be filled with frustration. It’s already started. The Polaroid processor I bought to use this film died after 3 whole sheets of film. That sucks but 3 sheets worked. I’m excited. It’s like someone building a rocket for the first time. They launch it. It fires. It starts to go up in the sky then it blows up. They could be upset that the rocket blew up or they could be happy that the dang thing even left the ground. I’m going to try to stay on the positive side of things. Jason Groupp gave me an 8×10 camera. Well, he loaned it to me. Good luck getting it back Jason! I shot a sheet of Impossibly expensive film in it. I guesstimated my bellows extension. I listened to the shutter speed and figured it was about a stop off. I made my adjustments and I got a photo. The processor may have blown up but it got off the ground!

Additional news… I’m older. I turned the corner last week and I’m now 40 years old. I’m over the hill. Maybe this Impossible Project stuff is my midlife crisis. I’m ok with that. Wouldn’t mind an old Porsche 911 SC though as a crisis purchase. Don’t think I didn’t look at those recently. So, in light of wanting a Porsche, this IP film at $190 a box (10 sheets) is a bargain! My wife, Meg, should be happy about that.

I’m happy with her. She threw me the greatest surprise birthday party in the history of surprise parties. This past Friday started off normally until our house was broken into. Some asshole smashed in a window downstairs and stole an xbox then went upstairs and stole a guitar and an effects pedal. I called the cops. Collected serial numbers and all that. I said expletives. I cursed out my dog for not chewing off an arm or something of the burglar. All of this before we were having my birthday party at our house on Saturday. My awesome father in law came by and boarded up the window and we went on with our day. 

It was a rare Friday night where all the kids were out of the house spending the night with various other family members and friends. Meg was going out for drinks with a friend. This gave me an evening to head to the new studio space and work on getting that place up and running. Once all the kids were deposited at other households I went to the lab. That’s what we call the new studio space down the street in Kirkwood. I started hanging some silks and my studio manager called me in a panic. She had stopped by the main studio to get something and discovered a pipe had burst and the studio was flooding. OMG! My house was broken into and now THIS? 

I rushed over to the studio taking inventory of everything that would be directly on the floor. I didn’t know where the main cut off valve was and I don’t have one of those tools to cut it off. It’s 7:30pm on a Friday. Who’s that plumber that advertises on the radio? I hear the jingle in my head but can’t remember the name. I bust through the door of the studio wondering why the overhead lights aren’t on. The place is flooding!!! Well, here’s why the lights weren’t on. 

That’s Meg in the spotlight. Playing our NOT stolen guitar in our NOT flooding studio. I walk into the studio and Meg is serenading me. A massive amount of relief washed over me as I began to realize that the studio was not flooding, and, most likely, there’s probably some people hiding back behind the big silks. I think I just walked in on a surprise party. There was also a keg of Wells Bombardier in the kitchen (Thank you Jeremy Hall!). I poured myself a beer. I turned off the overhead lights realizing I had just killed the ambience as I barreled through the front door. Meg transitioned into the happy birthday song and droves of friends and family and colleagues and clients poured out from every nook and cranny in the place. It was overwhelming. Later in the evening Meg started a video of folks who sent in their well wishes. I can’t thank everyone enough who was part of her ploy. I wish I could share the video but a few folks asked us not to because they went all out on some of them. That’s fine. I now possess bribe material on them. :)

At one point I thought the house break in was all part of this. Nope. That really happened. I may owe my dog an apology.  She may have kept the burglar out of the upstairs after all. We went late into the night and started again the next day being Cary Norton, Dave Jackson, and Dan Depew were in town for the fun. Spent Saturday night nerding out on cameras and lights and melting Polaroid processors along with Kevin Abeyta and Erik Dixon.



Again, thanks to everyone who was a part of my 40th party. I’ll never be able to top that Meg. But at some point… I’ll try. :)




  • Kendrick Disch said on December 10, 2012

    man that sounds awesome! happy 40th!

  • jess said on December 10, 2012

    Happy Birthday! When I get stuck I go back to good ol’ pinhole photography. Something about not over thinking resets the clockwork.

  • Dallas said on December 10, 2012

    That is so awesome. Glad you had a great party and welcome to the 40 something club.

  • Andrew said on December 10, 2012

    Happy Birthday, Zak, from the UK! The 40′s are great – it’s a time when you realise you new nowt in your 20′s and little more in your 30′s! Enjoy the ride and perlease keep blogging – your images, and thoughts, are deelicious!

  • oscar said on December 10, 2012

    great post and sounds like a great time! Happy belated Birthday Zack!

  • David said on December 10, 2012

    Happy Birthday Zack. I passed the same milestone a fortnight ago. Still coming to terms.

  • Pete said on December 10, 2012

    Cool…well all but the break in part of course. Happy Day. Keep inspiring.

  • Rex Gigout said on December 10, 2012

    Happy belated 40th!

    Ah, to be 40 again; actually, if it were possible turn back the clock, or rent a time machine, about 44 or so would be nice.

    Regarding the burglary, I empathize, sincerely.

  • DLuker said on December 10, 2012

    That last image looks full of hoodoo jimjamwhammy hocus focus. I like!

    Sounds like a memorable 40th. Wishing you any more. Minus the break in, of course.

  • Kara said on December 11, 2012

    Did we kinda try to make something special happen one year for our Meg?

  • Jeremiah Mullins said on December 11, 2012

    ¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

    Just be glad your dog was smart enough to keep the important stuff safe.

  • Atiyeh said on December 11, 2012

    I am glad you guys are all ok. and happy 40th birthday. you are so lucky to have a woman like meg. she is the bestest!
    I never liked Dubai.. and I am so glad I have moved from there back to good ol America! but man I am gonna miss GPP! and you.. and meg and seeing hawk at the big finale! lots of love and positive energy sent your way.

  • Meg said on December 11, 2012

    Kara, my friend, I agree. You guys totally threw me an AMAZING last year of my 20s party. That was the best party of my life. And you, midear, are still totally my Gibson. ;-)

  • Morgana said on December 11, 2012

    Happy Birthday. The 40s are fabulous. Just be you and it will all work out just fine. :)

  • AG said on December 11, 2012

    Happy Birthday, Zack! =)

  • nate parker said on December 11, 2012

    I got to be 40 this past summer- never thought it would happen to someone like me. Now the back’s out all the time and I got no energy, feel like I gotta go for some training! At least I have a 12 year old VW TurboDiesel Golf- which is kinda like a Porsche? Do a good job being nearly old, and happy to you sir! Ayuh.

  • Teja said on December 11, 2012

    Happy Birthday Zack.

  • Andres Trujillo said on December 11, 2012

    Happy belated birthday, Zack. Here’s to 40 more years of awesomness

  • Mike Levad said on December 11, 2012

    Happy Orbit Zack.

  • Eddy said on December 12, 2012

    Happy birthday Zack. I really enjoy your video tutorial and I admire your commitment and passion in photography…

  • BJ said on December 13, 2012

    Happy 40th Zach. :D

  • MikeScott said on December 13, 2012

    I was just wondering how old you were a week or two ago.. tried Google, etc. and couldn’t find it. Well, here we go – you’re no longer eligible for on of those “under 40″ lists. I’m in the countdown to 50 right now myself and have started to realize that many of the people that I look up to are younger than me these days.. and I find that very encouraging. Happy Birthday, Zack. You’re a good photographer, a good teacher and a good man.

  • Max Almonte said on December 13, 2012

    Happy B-lated B-day Zack. Gotta say that those types of birthdays are the most awesome ones. Nice Job MEg! I bet you got him all worked up and running like a chicken without head. Many more years and helth to you guys.

  • marc said on December 13, 2012

    A late Happy B. from across the Atlantic. Sounds like you had a heck of a birthday!
    I’ll join you next summer in being in the ’40′s. The idea still gives me pre-midlife crisis chills. Who knows cleaning up the old Holga and loading her up with some film might help :)


  • Hage said on December 15, 2012

    Crested that very same hill last week. Forty close friends got together and organized a surprise party. I was dumbfounded. The good scotch came out of hidding. Friends house got a little ‘remodeled’. Dance party went all night. The young pups slept while the old dogs skied the next day. So far 40′s not that bad. Cheers!

  • Andrew Frost said on December 16, 2012

    Happy Birthday Zak!

    I see your family and friends are as much an inspiration to you, as you are to us. Keep on rocking!


  • luka said on December 16, 2012

    Happy birthday Zack! A little late, missed the rss note :) Cheers man!

  • Juil said on December 17, 2012

    Happy birthday Zack!

    Thank you for that awesome QA tumblr you did.

    Reading about your surprise made my day.


  • David Kelly said on December 17, 2012

    Belated 40th birthday wishes Zack and welcome to Club40′s :-)
    Sounds like you had a great party – at least you didn’t have to parade yourself in public for the event whilst wearing a Tee with numerous childhood pictures of yourself printed all over it. That humiliation was generously donated to me by my wife last year – don’t think I’ve ever cringed so much in embarrassment!

  • Skaar said on December 17, 2012

    “Happy Birthday dude!” All the best of EVERYTHING to you and yours….always.

  • Frank Grygier said on December 17, 2012

    Happy Birthday Zack! 40 is only the first of many mid-life crisis ahead.

  • Richard said on December 21, 2012

    So Mr Arias – the Big Four Oh!!!

    Never imagined you’d be one for a mid-life crisis and thinking about it you’re probably not – it’s just a phase you’re going through.

    Anyway as they say on your side of the Atlantic ‘Happy Holiday Season!’

    I THINK that’s right…

  • Kevin said on December 29, 2012

    Congrats on your 4th Decade Zach. As for mid-life crisis, you have been helping me with mine the past several years as I explore new ways to light and new goals for myself. Being in the middle of my 5th Decade- you have been a great inspiration to me and I thank you for that. Keep up the great work, hug the family, and keep on moving forward. Most of all- keep the peace.

  • Jay Farrell said on December 31, 2012

    I feel your pain, I hit that last year….cool beard BTW!

  • robert quiet photographer said on December 31, 2012

    Yes, 40 are many…and 40 are not too many :-)

  • Christopher said on December 31, 2012

    Happy belated birthday. And Happy New Year!

  • Fabio said on January 1, 2013

    I’ll be in the 40s really soon, Happy birthday Zack!

  • Petr said on January 2, 2013

    Hey, 40 is not even a half, I suppose (I’m 2 years ahead of you). :-)
    Happy Birthday and Happy New Year.
    Take care.

  • Magenta Quebec said on January 15, 2013

    Now THAT’s a 40th birthday! Meg’s awesome!
    The b&w of you and the guys has great lighting.

  • Nick said on January 24, 2013

    Sorry to hear about your crap start.
    The 8×10 camera totally makes sense now.
    It’s exciting, it’s fun it’s a dream.
    Enjoy it. Chase it. Enjoy the chase.

  • capri models said on February 15, 2013

    Lookin good Zack – peace

  • Tumbleweed Photography Studio said on March 5, 2013

    Man what a terrible string of events, especially right around such a huge milestone in your life. Sending you good vibes and well wishes!

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