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Month: August 2016

Hey You! Yes You. Want to be a great photographer? Get a philosophy.

August 25, 2016

Do you like to look at photographs? Do you have a photographer whose work you look up to?

Take a minute and think of your favorite photographer. It doesn’t matter who this person is or what style of photography they do, their work only has to inspire you. I guarantee that when you find articles, interviews, or bio’s about your favorite photographer the reason they got into photographer wasn’t for the money. What was it for? When I first became attached to my first camera I was obsessed with Henri Cartier-Bresson. I couldn’t get enough of his work. I would stare at his works like “Héyres France 1932” and read books on him until I could see like him or so I thought. I loved his mastery of exploring space and setting his compositions up in a way that begged for the interaction of life. I read veraciously – any book I could get on Robert Capa I would read it. His photographs were great, but his story interested me more. 

Why do photographers pick up the camera?

Why is it that a camera became the tool of your favorite photographer’s mode of expression? Why not a paint brush or a computer or even a pencil? I am asking you to find this out because it will be these words and inspirations of your favorite photographers that will help guide you to yours.

In my 10 years of teaching photography to beginners, amateurs, and professionals I find that the photographer that shows the most drive and determination to learn are the ones guided by a force and fire that can’t be taught. They have a reason to create. They have a purpose for their vision and they have a story to tell. You can say they found religion. You can say they found a meaning behind their reasons to pickup the camera. Whatever they found…you should too.

Why do you photograph? Is it the rush of “nailing the shot”? Is it the experiences before and after the 1/125 of a second shutter opening? If the camera is your tool, if photography is your canvas then it’s time to figure out your WHY…

Spend some time in a new Environment

I often wish I had one purpose with the camera, but it was about 14 years ago I realized I wanted to share my knowledge instead of keeping it inside. When I was first learning photography I relied on the kindness of other photographers who let me into their busy lives to answer all of my really dumb questions. I realized fast that photography can be an all inclusive adventure, and the more we share about what we know can only propel us further on our path. I wanted to create a place where photographers go to learn how to tell their story and make great photographs. 

Photo tip’s and tricks are fads, and fads fade like your uncle’s washed out family photo. My goal has always been to help people learn their cameras, but I also want to help forge a photographic philosophy and help people understand the “why” of what you photograph and the “where” that photograph will go. 

I am very exited to get my Fall 2016 Photography Workshop Series underway. It’s my most ambitious photography workshop calendar yet: 12 workshops in a unique collaborative partnership with Crescent Park, French Market Corporation, and 5 Press Gallery to bring the New Orleans photo community it’s most comprehensive photography workshop offering ever. 

I hope you can check it out and take a course – CLICK HERE to find out more

 

The Louisiana Flood of 2016: How we can help those in the flooded communities of Louisiana

August 17, 2016

Right now there are thousands of Louisiana residents without homes due to the epic flooding that took place over this last weekend. Recent numbers say over 40,000 homes were damaged. Many were not ready for the flooding and had to be rescued from rooftops or stranded on highways. The storm that passed through was slow and vigilant causing little alarm on it’s approach but wreaked devastating havoc on Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Denham Springs and surrounding areas.

Many of my cousins and family members are going through the gutting process and about to start talking with FEMA and Red Cross…and it all brings me back to the aftermath of Katrina. I remember those times for the bad and I also remember it was the friends and family that helped each other to get back to a “new” normal.

Here is a post I made on Facebook about HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH YOUR LOSS in preparation for grant, loan, and assistant opportunities – please share!

Here are a few websites you can visit if you have the inclination to help those in need. Thank you – Zack

ONLINE DONATIONS

 Red Cross

  • Accepting: Donations via telephone. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or text LAFLOODS to 90999 to donate $10

• Companion Animal Alliance, Baton Rouge’s city animal shelter

  • Needs: Foster homes to house pets temporarily, large bath towels, paper towels, water and food for volunteers and staff. Donations can be made online to assist with these needs by going to the organization’s website,www.CAABR.org. 

• NOLA Pay It Forward

  • Accepting: Greater New Orleans Foundation collecting donations to aid neighboring parishes in early relief and rebuilding efforts. Access the site here. 

• United Way of Southeast Louisiana

• Denham Springs Animal Shelter, which was devastated by the floods

  • Accepting: Donations via a GoFundMe account, which PetCo is matching dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. The shelter also has an Amazon Wish List. By making purchases on Amazon, needed items will be sent directly to the shelter. 

 Tangi Humane Society, which is privately run and was devastated by the floods

• Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana

  • Accepting: Donations, 100 percent of which will be turned over to teachers who have lost classroom materials in the floods. They can be made online through APEL’s website. Teachers can also apply for the financial aid through the same link. 

• Assess the Need

  • Accepting: Donations for Livingston Parish schools, 15 of which flooded. Donations can be made online by going to Assess the Need’s website. They can also be emailed to Assess the Need, PO Box 1802, Denham Springs, LA, 70727

St. Landry-Evangeline United Way
337-942-7815
www.uwsle.org
 
United Way of Acadiana
337-233-8302
www.unitedwayofacadiana.org
 
United Way of Iberia
337-364-0424
www.unitedwayofiberia.org
 
United Way of Southwest Louisiana
337-433-1088
www.unitedwayswla.org

Can photographers document as an observer but still stay connected? My experience as a street culture photographer in New Orleans, Louisiana

August 10, 2016
 Treme Brass Band, Baby Dolls, Grand Marshall. Add sax, trumpet, drums and all those parts make the whole.

Treme Brass Band, Baby Dolls, Grand Marshall. Add sax, trumpet, drums and all those parts make the whole.

As I sit here sifting through Lightroom tagging, keywording and editing the 9,206 images I made at this year’s Satchmo Summerfest  I can’t help but relive all of the amazing moments over the last few days. As festival, wedding, or conference photographers can attest, photographing these multifaceted events are intense when you are doing it and intense when it’s over! During these events I am so focused trying to anticipate the magic moment when background and subject come together in a way that pleases both the client, and hopefully my own aesthetic. We can’t forget why we are there – we got hired to be there and to bring our eye to the event and we must never ever forget that. 

It’s hard to be in the moment and feel the music, when your first priority is observer and documentarian.

 Can we really feel a part of a moment if we are always documenting it? I doubt it, but we do it.

Can we really feel a part of a moment if we are always documenting it? I doubt it, but we do it.

I mean, can we really honestly say we are part of the second line and feeling the music while we are documenting the action? I really thinks it’s impossible. I can understand being lost in the moment and dancing in the streets from house to bar to house to bar with camera wailing wildly in the air only to pause to expose, compose, and capture. But is that really practical? Do you think you’d really get a high percentage of great shots? In my opinion I don’t think so. If your duty as a photographer is to document for a purpose and have a true intention of “why” you are photographing and “what” you are documenting, then you must be an Focused Intentional Observer. While we are not a part of the action, we need to be dedicated to the action’s flow and timing so that we move and breath like the action but are ready to detach, and compose.

Really, I can go on and philosophize about 2nd line photography in New Orleans, but I won’t. I’ll just see you on the streets..it’s been a long time coming. Zack

 

 

 

New Orleans' Musical Magic Hour in Pictures - Only the Best from Satchmo Fest 2016

August 9, 2016

I am always looking for the “magic” moment – when subject, background, composition and story come together in a way that sings of a depth way beyond first glance. I am always observing the moment when documenting a music festival in New Orleans, but I am always keeping a keen eye out for what may happen next, or what could happen if all goes right. Aside from my duties to my client to tell the story of their event, I am always trying to find the deeper layers to any moment and get “one for me”. 

Every day at the Satchmo Fest 2016 had it’s highlights and here I’ll show you mine…

If you’ve followed this blog you’ve seen my favorites of each day. Here are the links again to Friday, and Saturday. Here in this blog post are some more photographs from each of those days plus my best from Sunday. I hope you enjoy this post and if you do –  please share this link to your friends, pages, and your blog!

Images of Joy and Love: New Orleans lost two of it's favorite sons and yet we danced and sung as one.

August 7, 2016

On Friday morning, New Orleans found out it lost two of it’s favorite sons, but we raised a glass and sung as one when the day was done.

With so many icons of music, culture, art and life that live amongst us in New Orleans it’s not uncommon to mourn the loss of a great artist during the celebrations of a music festival. With so many festivals (152 a year said Jeremy Cooker of the NOTMC) one is likely to raise a glass and second line at the same time families and friends mourn a loved ones passing. This weekend New Orleans and the world lost not one, but two of our treasured son’s: world famous and locally loved clarinetist Pete Fountain, and gospel singer and iconic Tipitina’s doorman Jo “Cool” Davis.

The music, the laughter, the camaraderie, it all came to pass today. We miss our beloved sons and we hold them on our heavy hearts, but we dance and sing as they would want us to. You could feel it and hear them in the dense summer heat. Clarinet sways, gospel croon – Pete and Jo were in the air and we were all there. Enjoy some of my photographs of joy and love from Day 2 at Satchmo Summerfest in New Orleans, LA.

 Satchmo stalwart and all around good guy Yoshio Toyama kids around with Freddie Lonzo.

Satchmo stalwart and all around good guy Yoshio Toyama kids around with Freddie Lonzo.

 The Trumpet of Wendell Brunious, the finger of Freddie Lonzo. 

The Trumpet of Wendell Brunious, the finger of Freddie Lonzo. 

 Jane Harvey Brown serenades the crowd with

Jane Harvey Brown serenades the crowd with “La Vie en Rose” in french.

 Benny Jones, leader, of the Treme Brass Band start out their Kid

Benny Jones, leader, of the Treme Brass Band start out their Kid’s 2nd Line from the Cabildo.

 Long time stage manager Eric B and his new wife accept a wedding cake from Satchmo staff.

Long time stage manager Eric B and his new wife accept a wedding cake from Satchmo staff.

 Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony take some time out to pose for a fan. (me)

Topsy Chapman and Solid Harmony take some time out to pose for a fan. (me)

 There

There’s so much to do and see at Satchmo Fest, as seen by this crowd of onlookers.

 Juggling and playing a cowbell is how Charmaine Neville STARTS her set...not surprised here.

Juggling and playing a cowbell is how Charmaine Neville STARTS her set…not surprised here.

 Every body deserves a break after a long day, this guy is still all smiles after all that heat...

Every body deserves a break after a long day, this guy is still all smiles after all that heat…

 

 

Satchmo Summerfest 2016. A new New Orleans home that fits just right in Jackson Square

August 6, 2016

Even though I don’t photograph nearly as much festivals as I used to, I always look forward to shooting the ones I do on a regular basis. Up until the last few years I was shooting pretty frequently, on staff at Jazz Fest, French Quarter Fest (see my best of 2016), and Satchmo Fest but also shooting portraits and live sets at Voodoo Music Experience, Chaz Fest and many other events around town. Since I peeled back on the festival photography to concentrate more on other photographic avenues, I really only get fired up for one festival…Satchmo Summerfest.

Satchmo Summer Fest has purpose, it has history, and it has the genius, kindness, and musical guidance of one visionary that is forever linked to New Orleans: Louis Armstrong.

The first day of photographing a festival for me now is all about getting my “fest eyes and legs”

Many New Orleans photographers I know in the music industry continue to shoot music festivals year-round like Lollapalooza, Hangout Fest, Bonnaroo, ACL, and others. I don’t envy them though, it’s really hard work, but I do wish I didn’t hurt so much after Day 1 of a fest! The hustle routine of shooting a festival is sometimes a challenge doing all that walking for ten hours straight, pounding waters, and eating and walking.

Satchmo Fest photography for me is more than just capturing the music, it’s about my clients needs on a promotion, sponsorship, and operational level.

Aside from photographing the musicians at Satchmo Fest I also have duties to capture the operations layout (placements of stages, barricades, trash cans, food booths, etc) sponsorships (sponsor signs, banners, and VIP’s), crowd flow, and a multitude of various duties that have nothing to do with a guitar solo or brass band second line. But who wants to look at that stuff anyway? Enjoy some of my favorites from Day 1 and be on the lookout for the full Satchmo Fest 2016 Photo Gallery on Monday, August 8th right here on the blog!

 The official

The official “front door” of Satchmo Fest

 Scarlett puts the finishing touches on Louis Armstrong

Scarlett puts the finishing touches on Louis Armstrong’s big litup birthday cake

 I ate at Palmer

I ate at Palmer’s food booth 3 times on Friday…their Jerk Chicken combo is FINE!

 The Preservation Hall Brass Band relax in the shade before their opening set at Satchmo 2016

The Preservation Hall Brass Band relax in the shade before their opening set at Satchmo 2016

 The Preservation Hall Brass Band relax in the shade before their opening set at Satchmo 2016

The Preservation Hall Brass Band relax in the shade before their opening set at Satchmo 2016

 Greg Davis and Kirk Joseph kid around pre-set at Satchmo Fest 2016

Greg Davis and Kirk Joseph kid around pre-set at Satchmo Fest 2016

 Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the Red Beans and Riceley Yours Stage at Satchmofest 2016

Dirty Dozen Brass Band at the Red Beans and Riceley Yours Stage at Satchmofest 2016

 The Tornado Brass Band cool off with a few cold Abita Jockamo IPA

The Tornado Brass Band cool off with a few cold Abita Jockamo IPA’s before their set

 Bill Summers Jazzsalsa perfom at the Red Beans and Riceley Yours Stage at Satchmofest 2016

Bill Summers Jazzsalsa perfom at the Red Beans and Riceley Yours Stage at Satchmofest 2016

 The Soul Rebels Brass Band were nice enough to pose for a portrait!

The Soul Rebels Brass Band were nice enough to pose for a portrait!

 The sun sets behind the clouds and St. Louis Cathedral...Abita Beer tent smiles.

The sun sets behind the clouds and St. Louis Cathedral…Abita Beer tent smiles.

 Big Sam

Big Sam’s Funky Nation closed out the opening night at Satchmo Summerfest 2016

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