by Angelina Perino
“Losing control of everything is far more valuable than trying to gain control of anything.” -Zachariah
The bay area is home to many talented photographers. Photography, when combined with another art form can truly create something amazing. This is exactly what San Francisco based photographer Zachariah Epperson does.
Basically, Zachariah plus a camera plus a dancer equals magic. He brings his deep passion for his work and life into even the smallest moments of his process, which is why his photos are so authentically beautiful. The Artists’ Cove went behind the scenes with Zachariah on a shoot in the iconically beautiful LINES Ballet studios here in San Francisco. Emma grabbed her pointe shoes and Zachariah, his camera, and the two went to work. Above, you guys can check out the behind the scenes video I made of the shoot as well as the behind the scenes photos below. We’ll be sure to do a follow up post to show you all the final photos by Zachariah!
Read our interview with Zachariah below. Hope you all enjoy the wonderful (and for many of us, relatable) thoughts that he shared as much as we did. Here’s to a beautiful week ahead, loves.
A: What do you love most about the bay area?
Z: What I enjoy the most about the bay area is the diversity, not just in the people, but the food, the culture and the landscape of the city. This is a city that has everything for everyone.
A: When did you first get into photography?
Z: Photography for me has been a journey. As a boy I was always looking at more photo books than school books. In high school, I was given my first digital camera — simple, but it fueled my passion for the art of image taking. A few years later, in college, I took my first photography class and this set my fire ablaze and it hasn’t stopped since then.
A: What type of photography did you start out with?
Z: When I first started taking photos, I took photos of everything — flowers; dogs; trees; clouds; cars. Then, w hen I was in college, I started taking photos of people doing everyday things — walking the streets, going to outdoor markets, etc. It was also so easy for me to get lost in the wilderness and capture images of landscapes.
A: What is intriguing to you about shooting dancers?
Z: Over the past two years I’ve really come to love working with dancers. Every dancer is so different from the next and with every dancer I learn something new about myself, my photography, and of course, dance. What I like the most about working with them is that the shoot is collaborative. It’s a lot of improv, so this can lead to a lot of creative flow at such a personal level for both me and the dancer.
A: What inspires you as an artist and a human?
Z: The thing that inspires me most as an artist and as an individual would have to be other people — to learn from them, to hear their life story, to view a perspective of the world outside of your own even if it’s only for a few moments. This is why I’ve come to love photographing people.
A: Have there been difficult moments throughout your journey in relation to your art? Moments of doubt or insecurity?
Z: Doubt and art? Aren’t these the same things? Well no, but they’re so deeply tied. I feel like when I go through doubt in my art, I come out with deepened understanding and new levels of creativity. The times that are the hardest as an artist are when you’re feeling unable to create, feeling like life isn’t worth anything, feeling like maybe I should do something “real” with my life. But after these falls we rise new and rise higher than we ever have as artists and humans.
A: What makes photography a unique art form?
Z: To me there is no other art like photography. You capture moments, glimpses of the past that will never be lived again, but can be viewed by the world so easily.
A: One of the things I’ve always appreciated the most about any art, particularly dance, is that it happens so much in the flow of the moment. That step or that feeling created by the performer will never be created the same way again. What are your thoughts on photography being a way to capture a movement as it was in the moment?
Z: I feel like the answer to this question is slightly tied into the answer of the previous. Life is moment to moment, dance is movement to movement. No moment or movement can ever be reproduced, but it can be captured with photography. That moment can be relived by the artists on both sides of the lens and experienced by so many others.
A: What would you like for photographers are artists of any kind reading this to know?
Z: From an artist to an artist, I say this: never give up, never throw in the towel, never say you’re not good enough, never say you’re not talented enough. Talent alone only gets anyone in this world so far. To get anywhere and anything in life it takes a lot of work, a lot of rejection, a lot of failure. But it’s what we do after being told no, or failing time and time again, that defines us as successful artists. If you feel in your bones what you’re doing is feeding your soul and is your reason for being on this planet, then DO IT, even if it’s hard or you want to walk away from it all.
A: You love travel. What are some of your favorite cities you have been to? If you could live anywhere in the world and do your work there, where would that be?
Z: A few of my favorite cities I’ve traveled to are NYC, Seattle and Venice, Italy. I am always trying to find a reason to travel around the world, whether it is to explore a new location or work with a great dancer. If I could live anywhere in the world and shoot dance… man, that is a hard one… but I’d have to say anywhere in Europe. The European theater and arts are beyond spectacular and I feel like there is nearly endless opportunity there.
A: What do you enjoy doing outside of photography?
Z: Outside of photography I find joy in so many things, the most obvious is going to the ballet. I also enjoy cycling in the hills of Marin County or around San Francisco; going to the beach, in any weather; long drives with good company and great music, or just exploring a new part of the world.
A: If you could offer advice to your younger self, what would you say to him?
Z: If I could talk to my younger self, I’d tell him to slow down, to wait, to have patience and most of all to have faith in whats going to happen in life. Losing control of everything is far more valuable than trying to gain control of anything.
I hope you’ve found a bit of inspiration from Zachariah to take into your own lives. As always, there’s plenty more to come. Remember to stay in touch with us on our instagram (@theartistscove)! Thank you once again, Zachariah!