Aug 212017
 

Editorial Portrait for Rotman University Malibu Beach Entrepreneur

Editorial Portrait Malibu Beach for Rotman University

In May I met up with LA-native and entrepreneur Anthony Harbour on Malibu’s Topanga Beach to shoot portraits for the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. Harbour is a recent graduate who was being profiled after creating his new venture, The Baldwin Gentlemen, a social club for gay men of color. Rather than depicting him in a professional setting the school wanted to show him somewhere that was obviously California, so after a conversation with Anthony we opted to meet up on the sand but shoot him in business casual attire. This fit the story quite well, as his business is all about creating small gatherings in different settings, from beaches to museum exhibits and any variety of other cultural events. The weather turned out to be partly cloudy, so it could have been a little more “LA” had the sun been out. But I really like the quality of light we got. These are a couple favorites from the shoot.

 

Jul 282017
 

Female Fitness Athlete Portrait Venice Beach

On weekday mornings when I’m not shooting, I can frequently be found on the Venice Beach boardwalk playing paddle tennis. From there you can see the Venice Beach sand pit, a fitness area situated behind the more famous Muscle Beach weight pen, where regulars and visitors work out on a variety of gymnastics equipment, including parallel bars, rings and rope climbs. I’m used to seeing various feats of strength being performed, but usually don’t give people a second look. A couple weeks ago however I looked over and saw a woman with a shock of pink hair doing a series of very difficult exercises seemingly on endless repeat. Pushups, pull-ups, upside-down shoulder shrugs, one-legged squats and other things I don’t know what to call. I had never seen her before and every time I looked over throughout the course of a couple of tennis sets she was still there working hard and still going strong. I’m always on the lookout for interesting subjects, so after a set concluded I decided to introduce myself and see if she’d be interested in shooting with me sometime. She told me her name was Krista Stryker, a fitness blogger and entrepreneur with an app called 12 Minute Athlete. No shock she was a pro. I followed up later with some samples of my work and she agreed to meet up. I had a great time working with her and shot a variety of portraits as well as images of her doing some difficult exercises. A recent Portland transplant, she told me she was a personal trainer at a few gyms, but has found a lot more satisfaction since starting her own business. I can identify with that. Shooting with her, however, made me realize that although I’m in fairly good shape there’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m starting with getting past 5 pull-ups, an exercise I’ve been neglecting for the past 20 years or so. If you’re interested in upping your fitness game and have 12 minutes to spare check out her website and follow her on instagram at @12minuteathlete. Also check out more images from the shoot below.

 

 

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Jun 282017
 

Editorial Corporate Magazine Photography - George Fischer - Paintball

Action - Editorial Corporate Magazine Photography - Paintball

Portrait - Editorial Corporate Magazine Photography - Paintball

I didn’t need a reminder that I made the right choice early on not to pursue a career in combat photography, but after feeling the sting of a paintball against my skin for the third time in only a couple minutes, despite several layers of protective clothing,  I remembered that it was indeed the right call.

Earlier this year I found myself out in the middle of a field seventy miles east of Los Angeles following around paintball enthusiast Justin Sorenson for Georg Fischer’s Globe magazine. Justin is a field service engineer by weekday, avid competitive paintball player by weekend and a really nice guy to work with. They were featuring him as part of a regular series they publish highlighting employees’ passions and pastimes outside the workplace. I had only played paintball once in my life, with some friends as a teenager. Being the new guy, they put me out front. I was quickly shot and went back to the house to hang out until they were through. So given my limited experience it probably goes without saying that I was unprepared when I suddenly found myself on the edge a battlefield where ten guys were raining hellfire upon one another with paint-filled balls of gelatin.

Justin and I had shot some portraits before things started and, when it was his team’s turn to play, made our way onto the field. He told me more or less where to shoot from to avoid being shot, but once play begins it all happens very fast. Starting at their home base on opposite ends of the field, upon the referee’s signal each of the five members of each team sprint in different directions, simultaneously scrambling for cover behind large bunkers while also shooting rapidly at anything they see moving on the other side of the field. The goal is to eliminate everyone on the opposing team by “marking” them with a splat of colored paint. You’re hit, you’re out. Last team standing wins.

Standing in the mud along the sidelines with nothing but a camera it feels a bit chaotic at first. The bunkers, inflated vinyl balloons, make loud thwaps each time they’re hit. I see Justin take off and immediately move so I can get a clear view of him in action. What I don’t see is one of his teammates crossing in front of me, which immediately draws fire from their opponents. Any shots that miss him, which was more than a few, have a good chance of hitting me.

The first one hits me right in the keister and stings like hell. I try to move along the edge toward the middle of the field where another team is watching. His teammate heads in the same direction and leaps behind a bunker. Paintballs whoosh by my ear. As I turn sideways one hits the side of my camera, ripping through the bag I’ve secured around it for protection as if it was Kleenex. Fortunately it hits a solid part of the camera body causing no harm. But I realize I should have brought a water housing. A moment later the referee yells to stop play and I let down my guard. Another paintball smacks me in the foot, stinging my toe even through the leather cleats I’m wearing for traction. What the &#*@!? The teams exit the field so the next teams can take a turn and, a little frustrated, I assess what I’ve shot. Not much. Besides spending most of the round trying not to get myself shot, Justin had taken a route up the middle of the field keeping him out of view, so I’d essentially taken all that fire for nothing.

Fortunately round two is better. I quickly learn to watch not only my subject but also to look out for anyone else running anywhere near my direction and to not get behind them. This time Justin runs an outside route toward my corner and I’m able to get a clear shot of him while also staying out of the line of fire. I’m shot only once more over the course of the afternoon and am able to get numerous images of him running, firing and diving for cover. Knowing I have what I need I decide to get myself, and more importantly my gear, out of harms way and call it a day. As for Justin, he intends to play for several more hours. Having watched them play I could see why. It’s a strategic, fast-paced and adrenaline pumping game that I’m sure is addictive once you get started.

As crazy as I may have made it sound, it was actually a great time and a really fun assignment. There are a lot worse ways to spend a Saturday. Even if most of them are less painful.

Here’s a video showing my POV from an iPhone I mounted to my camera. See below for more photos from the shoot!

Paintball Photography POV from David Zentz on Vimeo.

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May 232017
 

Corporate Editorial Photographer - Golden Road Brewing Georg Fischer Portrait

Corporate Editorial Photographer - Golden Road Brewing Georg Fischer

I’ll be honest. Some assignments are more fun than others. When the job calls for you to spend the day shooting in the newest Golden Road brewery in Anaheim and the afternoon culminates in a private tasting by master brewer Victor Novak, eager to share some of his latest creations, it ranks right up there. The shoot was for Georg Fischer’s in-house magazine, Globe, which was running an article on how the cooling market segment of their piping division is serving the ever-growing craft brewing industry. I was to meet the featured GF employee, Dan Strömberg, the lucky man who makes the sales calls to this particular segment, at the brewery & tap room and spend the afternoon shooting the brewing process, portraits of him and Victor, and the piping that makes it all possible. The brewery, which has yet to fully open, is only the second brewing location for the immensely successful LA company, which opened its flagship brewery and restaurant in a stretch of warehouses in Atwater Village in 2011 and was acquired by InBev only 4 years later in 2015. The building is a massive warehouse situated directly across from Angels Stadium, which will eventually house a full restaurant that I imagine will be the place to be before and after baseball games in coming years. For now though, it sits mostly empty, with some space used for two rows of 50-barrel tanks and the rest dedicated to housing pallets of beer cans and a few rows of oak barrels aging various ales. The small Taproom, however, is open to the public. Despite the acquisition this they seem to have kept their character, something that was once feared lost upon being swallowed up by a major conglomerate. In fact, the Anaheim branch will be dedicated to smaller batch, experimental brews, such as the robust ginger bread stout and a refreshingly light mango berliner weisse we got to try following the shoot. These and others were served up by Victor, accompanied by explanations of what we were drinking and insights into thought process behind each experiment. My favorites are still their line of IPA’s, including Point the Way and Heal the Bay, but nothing on the menu disappointed. Were every shoot to end this way, well frankly, I wouldn’t get much else done. But a guy can dream. If you’re in the area I recommend dropping in for a pint. And if you get to take a brewery tour, check out those pipes!

 

Corporate Editorial Photographer - Golden Road Brewing Georg Fischer

Corporate Editorial Photographer - Golden Road Brewing Georg Fischer

Corporate Editorial Photographer - Golden Road Brewing Georg Fischer

Corporate Editorial Photographer - Golden Road Brewing Georg Fischer

 

 Posted by at 8:25 am
May 162017
 

Venice Art Walk Open Studio

If you find yourself in Los Angeles this weekend please join me and photographer Martin Linss for our open studio event, part of the 38th Annual Venice Family Clinic Art Walk & Auctions! I’ve taken part in this for several years now and it’s always a fun time and great to raise money for a good cause. Our event is free, with a portion of sales going to the clinic. If you want to take the tour you can sign up here.

 Posted by at 5:38 pm
May 032017
 

Editorial Photographer Tear Sheet

LACC Jazz Band - Editorial Photography

 

Late last year I photographed the Los Angeles Community College Studio Jazz Band for the Chronicle of Higher Education as they rehearsed for the following night’s concert. The story was about how the school had just received a $10 million grant from the Herb Alpert Foundation, which would be used to make tuition free for all music majors. Alpert, a jazz musician who founded A&M Records, and his foundation already had a history with donating to the school, but last year decided they wanted to give a legacy donation that would make a big difference in the lives of LACC students. The story reminded me of an episode of Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History podcast that I listened to a few months ago in which he discusses a man named Hank Rowan who, in 1992, decided to give a $100 million donation to a local community college in order to create an entire engineering department. The podcast argues that more donors should think this way rather than only giving to the top Ivy League schools, which today have endowments in the multiple billions of dollars, but generally educate people who are starting with a lot of advantages. Thus the money doesn’t really do a lot for them in the way it would for the underserved students attending the small schools. It appears the Herb Alpert Foundation had a similar mindset. It was great to not only meet some of the beneficiaries of the foundation’s generosity, but also sit in on what felt like a private concert put on by a talented group of students.

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