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Los Angeles photographer David Zentz photographs people, places and things for editorial, commercial and private clients in the studio and on location. Editorial, commercial and fine art work can be seen at http://davidzentz.com. For wedding, event and headshot photography, please visit http://www.bestcoastphoto.com.

Feb 202018
 

Venice Beach Street Photography

Sometimes I liken photography to fishing. You just have to pick your spot and be patient. I know I’m not the first to make the analogy, but it’s often fitting. With varying success I’ve waited in one spot for close to an hour at times, hoping something would materialize in front of a background I’d found interesting. Some serious nature photographers have been known to stay in one spot for days. Yesterday an opportunity to go fishing arose after a rare hailstorm visited Venice Beach. The weather, which lasted all of 5 minutes, was enough to get me outside, but didn’t itself yield any great images. But the late-afternoon, white winter light light mixed with the overcast skies and freshly soaked pavement motivated me to stay out a while longer looking for photos. One of the first things to catch my eye was a beam of light illuminating some corner shops on the boardwalk, causing their bright yellow signage pop out against the dark, grey-blue skies behind them. I knew the spot would make for a great image if something interesting passed by and decided anchor myself, to continue the analogy, and see what would happen. A couple skaters passed by as well as a group of pedestrians who, after the rain, had reemerged in search of rainbows. I made some decent frames over the course of a few minutes before a cloud passed in front of the sun, taking the life out of my background. I figured that might be it and nearly moved on. That’s when I looked to my left and and spotted a couple walking my way pushing a bulldog in a pink-lined baby stroller. I decided to stay put. Just as they approached the sun re-emerged and everything lined up and I reeled in a big one. Okay, that’s enough of that. The point being, it’s nice when you put in the time and are rewarded with a nice fish. Er, photo.

Jan 312018
 

Photojournalism - WSJ Honda

Photojournalism - WSJ Honda

Last month I spent an afternoon going door to door with members of Honda’s Recall Team in Torrance as they attempted to inform car owners that their vehicles are subject to recall due to the famously deadly flaw in Takata airbags that were used between 2001-2015 by Honda and numerous other carmakers. The only problem, they were hard to find! This is largely due to the fact that Honda, whose cars were affected possibly worse than any other company, has spent the past several years reaching out in every way they can to car owners and have already found a high percentage of them. They are also trying to reach 2nd, 3rd and higher-generation owners, whose records are often hard to find or turn out to be inaccurate.

After several hours driving to various residences, which their records indicated were home to Honda owners who had not yet fixed their vehicles, we found exactly zero actual owners. We often missed them because they were at work, in which case they left a flyer on the doorknob, and in one case found someone whose husband owned the car, but had just sold it. I’m sure it’s a frustrating experience for the recall team, but also worth it as there’s supposedly a 50/50 chance that the driver or front seat passenger of an affected Honda could die or be seriously injured by shrapnel should the airbag deploy. Pretty bad. The recall is considered the largest in history, affecting over 42 million vehicles across all manufacturers and killing at least 20 people worldwide. If you own a car you think might be affected by this hopefully you’ve been contacted already and taken care of it! If not, you can get info here. Honda will actually come to your vehicle and fix it for free, so get on it.

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Jan 092018
 

Frail ankles, Paris

First snow of the year - Montmartre, Paris

Eiffel Tower at night - Double Exposure

The best way to see a city is off season and on foot. This is a belief held and practiced by both my wife and myself, sometimes to our own discomfort, but usually more to our benefit. In the past few years we’ve sweat our asses off in Bangkok and New Orleans, frozen our asses off in New York, racked up some serious kilometers in Vancouver and most recently, strolled throughout Paris and, for a day or so, nearby Beaune in Burgundy. In short, the advantages of the off season are that it’s cheaper and less crowded, allowing us to see and do more with less money and time. The downside? The weather. It usually means very hot or very cold conditions, which is of course what keeps the tourists away. However, living in Venice Beach, the 2nd most visited place in California next to Disneyland, we’ve come to appreciate visiting places when most others wouldn’t. We also both grew up in the midwest and somewhat pride ourselves in being able to tolerate extreme temperature swings on both ends of the spectrum. Therefore, in late November, we found ourselves somewhat freezing as we put in roughly 6-12 miles a day walking throughout Paris.

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Dec 222017
 

Magazine Cover - Editorial Photography

Editorial Portrait Photography

Not long ago I found myself bobbing, weaving and trying to hold focus as a fierce woman with a two-toned mohawk swung large purple boxing gloves at my face. Usually I don’t appreciate that sort of behavior while I’m trying to take a picture. In this case I’d asked her to do it, so it was okay. My would-be attacker was Hollywood super-cool stuntwoman Petra Sprecher, who I was photographing on Venice Beach for a profile to be published in Migros magazine, a publication from her native Switzerland. She may not look familiar, but you’ve probably seen her work!  She’s performed in numerous big-time films, including Minority Report, Eagle Eye and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, to name a few. Prior to that she grew up performing in circuses, ultimately touring with Cirque de Soleil’s Quidam. Circus to stunts seems to be a natural transition. The other stunt performers I’ve known were either trained gymnasts and/or parkour runners. Who else would be capable of jumping off rooftops or falling down stairs? Unfortunately timing didn’t allow us to shoot her doing those things on an actual set, so we did the next best thing, having her demonstrate some of her training exercises, also stopping to take some standard portraits. It was a fun afternoon and we were both thrilled to see the work chosen for the cover.

Oct 192017
 

I recently got the itch to polish my video skills and it so happens that my good friend and badass artist Curtis Weaver was putting the finishing touches on his solo show, TREES IN WOLVES’ CLOTHING, before its debut at the Garboushian Gallery in Beverly Hills. A few shooting days and many hours in front of a computer later and this is the result! Curtis is an incredibly creative sculptor and painter. His work generally revolves around a reimagining of the biological evolution of plants, with an environmentalist bent. While in the past he’s used a variety of synthetic materials to create imaginary beings from scratch, this time he chose to base everything on found pieces of wood, which he then disguised with paint and real-world objects such as shoes and clothing. The resulting pieces are great and worth a gallery visit if you can make it before the closing date of Oct. 26th. Check out the video and his artist statement on the gallery website for a better description of the work, www.garboushian.com . I am beginning to ramp up my video production capabilities, so keep an eye out for future projects in the coming months!

Oct 022017
 

Discover Magazine-Editorial Photography

Discover-Editorial Photography

Discover-Editorial Photography

Discover-Editorial Photography

Discover-Editorial Photography

It was great seeing not one, but two, pieces published in the October issue of Discover magazine! The first story was shot at the UCLA Brain Imaging Center to illustrate a first-person narrative by writer Jeff Wheelwright relating his experience getting tested for the Human Connectome Project, a large study creating a baseline map of the brain to better study how it ages. For the story we created a series of images of him going through various cognitive tests, as well as an overhead of him lying in a decommissioned MRI machine. That latter was a challenge, but we pulled it off with the help of my assistant LR, a patient subject and a Camranger remote, which allowed me to shoot live view wirelessly from my laptop to my Nikon, which was carefully positioned overhead on a boom. The second story was a fascinating piece on advancements in stem cell therapies that are allowing people such as Kristin MacDonald, who I shot at home in Beverly Hills, to regain partial vision almost totally lost to Retinitis Pigmentosa, an incurable degenerative eye disease that caused her to start going blind in her twenties. Others have successfully used the therapy to overcome paralysis caused by stroke or injury. The advancements were initially made possible by the passing of California Proposition 71 in 2004, which provided $3 billion in funding for stem cell research in the state after the feds cut off funding for embryonic stem cell research in 2001. I did a related story several years ago when scientists were just figuring out how to work around the ban, so it was great to see how far things have come in the last seven or so years. I’m looking forward to seeing the advancements this field is sure to produce in the coming years.