Photographer Spotlight Monday: Zaebear
Prefered name? Zaebear
Where Are You From? Anchorage, Alaska
Current Area of Residence? Hollywood, CA
More Work: Zaebearphoto.com
TOAN: Do you have a focus on one specific area of photography, i.e.: fashion, landscape, portraiture, events, etc? If so, which?
Zaebear: The focus of my work is primarily fashion, style, fetish, and high concept photography. I shoot editorials, look books for fashion and accessory brands, portraiture, and fun creative concepts based on inspirations that I customize to adhere to a specific aesthetic. I am very inspired by cult films, as well as high fashion editorials and concepts. I also shoot film. I have done a variety of different music videos for musicians and singer/songwriters, I have shot fashion film campaigns, and collaborated with business such as a fetish art gallery for creative promotional film projects.
TOAN: What are your thoughts on saturation in the photography industry due to social media?
Z: I feel like the increase in the saturation of photography due to social media has its pros and cons. One con is that it is very easy for other creative people to see an image and copy it easily based on the visibility of the particular artist that they were inspired by. Ive had several original ideas, such as a fetish/latex meets R&B music video that Ive seen duplicated by people who have larger followings and I can’t really do anything about it at my current status as an underground creative director. I know that other artists have dealt with similar issues.
One pro however, is that it is easier to circulate images and brand oneself based on an aesthetic or focus that people can follow and keep updated with. I don’t think my business or brand would be what it has become in such a short amount of time without the visibility that social media provides. For that I am very thankful.
TOAN: Because of its origin and some specific knowledge of settings, numbers and so forth, do you consider photography an art, science, or skill/talent?
Z: Depending on the work of the photographer, I would say it can be considered as talent, skill, or a science, or in some cases all three. Most photographers approach their work with a different perspective and I feel that you can see their approach easily in their work. When a photographer is super technical and adheres too heavily on the rules of how to create a perfect image or having the most expensive equipment, sometimes the artfulness of the images can be overshadowed or can simply fail to be present. I also think that you can know everything about the technical side of taking a photo, but have really boring work. In my opinion, the talent and art of creating an image comes from breaking the rules (or never learning them) and stepping away from the standard way of shooting to see where mistakes can take an image from basic to interesting.
TOAN: How did you decide on photography as something to commit your time to?
Z: I knew that I could commit myself to photography the minute I realized that I could insert my personality and imagination into a image, and then make money from it. I know that may sound blunt or cliche, but I’ve always had a very strict sense of what I like to see when I look beauty and imagery. I hate when important details are overlooked and I love to see a vision come into fruition as an image or film. The devil is in the details. I love the endless possibilities that come with developing my aesthetic and seeing where my dreaming and visions take my work.
TOAN: What do you imagine to be doing with photography in 6 months? 5 years?
Z: In 6 months I see myself working in collaboration with an edgy fashion magazine that commissions me to shoot concepts and campaigns that they know only I can execute. I see myself working on more look looks and editorials, and continuing to build my brand as a creative director.
In 5 years, I see myself being a a recognized brand and published photographer. I want to shoot a full length film and be recognizable as a creative.