I am honored to have been asked by the New Orleans Photo Alliance to kick off their first Portfolio Share Happy Hour and Critique.

from the Alliance….

“We’re taking our portfolio sharing events in a different direction this month. NOPA member and professional photographer Zack Smith will host this event for photographers wishing to take their work to the next level.

Participants will present a body of work and Zack will address specific questions and concerns then lead the group in discussion of the work. This Happy Hour is intended for emerging professionals and experienced amateurs to get open and honest feedback from an Alliance Member with many years in the fine art, commercial, and photography education business.”

$25/members; $35/Gen. Public. Space is limited. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

But 1st…I have to say I have always been a sponge around other photographers…

Ever since I could remember picking up a camera, I was always asking questions about this SLR device I couldn’t seem to get away from. When I first began taking pictures with a serious passion, back in the fall of 1997, I would gravitate towards anyone making images. In the restaurant I worked as a senior in college, I sought out the photographer whose beautiful black and white still life photographs were hanging in the bar and asked him: “can you teach me how you made that print?”

…and once you convert your only bathroom to a darkroom you’re in deep

So after learning how to roll the film, process the film, mix chemicals and make a print – (whew!) I converted my bathroom into a darkroom and began experimenting. (AKA wasting money learning)

I assisted photographers for MAXIM, NIKE, NBA, commercials, movies and anything I could grab a light or a C-stand and be a sponge. My life changed forever when I was hired to work with the great portrait photographer Herman Leonard in New Orleans. As his studio and field assistant I did everything: loaded film, unloaded film, carried lights and set them up, learned about gels, grids, and how to roll cable. I learned how to be human, and listen, and still be creative behind the camera…

What I am getting at is that at this point in my careers after teaching for 12+ years and mentoring other photographers and creatives I STILL LEARN from looking at photographs and talking with photographers. I love looking at work and critiquing, challenging, and asking the hard questions of the artist to help them grow.