Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Zack Arias: Master Of The Balancing Act
Zack Arias is utilizing the powerful promotional possibilities of the internet for all that it’s worth
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
When we spoke for this article, Zack Arias was in the midst of preparations for several new adventures, including a trip to London, where he was slated to lead a small speedlight workshop, as well as a total overhaul of his website, with new PhotoShelter integration and another brand-new site, Dead Pixel, which is destined to become a central resource from Arias on everything from shooting tips to gear reviews. Based out of Atlanta, the photographer is omnipresent on the web, with an absolutely massive Facebook and Twitter following. A visit to his Tumblr page will uncover an extensive archive of 1,500 question-and-answer sessions, and he follows up the majority of questions on gear by pointing out to his readers that they should get out and shoot.
Arias' photography is mostly portraiture driven, and he has chosen recently to diversify by expanding from commercial and editorial work into street reportage, as well. Whether working in the studio or shooting off the cuff, as he does so often with his street work, his style is mostly about capturing the idiosyncratic and humorous character of his subjects against minimal backgrounds that still reveal the environment for establishing context. He began with portraiture by working with local bands, expanding from $100-a-day sessions into large campaigns for record companies. But this all-eggs-in-one-basket approach to his portfolio almost kept him from becoming the success he is today because his career, which was tied to the music business, tanked along with the music business.
"I was a full-time music photographer," he continues. "I was paying my rent and feeding my kids by shooting bands, and within 60 days it was all gone. And it really sent me for a loop. I talked to some well-established folks in the music industry, and they said, 'Yep, it's gas prices!', because musicians live on the road, that's how they make their money, by touring. And once they started spending all their extra money on gas—cause they're not touring in a Prius, they're touring in some '79 Econoline van that gets two miles to the gallon—there was no more money for photos. I was kind of a luxury item at that point."
Arias says that he was faced with the decision of slashing his rates, which would return him to the point at which he started, or he could find another way forward. It was at this point he began to diversify by building his editorial and commercial photography.
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