STILLS + MOTION
“Music and photography inspire me — I can’t have one without the other. While music is a means to live in the moment, my go-to for a mood change, it is also the muse for my creativity and the playlist of my life. Photography is vital for me to capture, engage, and tell stories. My camera, an inherent tool for communication and expression.”
I’ve always believed that a person needs to have more than one thing in their life that inspires them. For me, it’s music and photography — I can’t have one without the other. Music gives me life. It is a means to live in the moment, my go-to for a mood change, where I find ideas, answers, motivation, and joy. And, music is the muse for my creativity. Photography was ingrained in me as a child, beginning when I tagged along with my photographer dad touring the planet, my summer playground, the African savanna, Alaskan wilderness, and then some. As an extrovert, it is vital for me to interact, capture, engage, and tell stories. My camera is an inherent tool I use to communicate and express myself.
The Playlist of My Life
While I was born in Spokane, WA, and raised in Mountain Home, ID, I prefer to identify myself as a Pacific Northwesterner — someone who is environmentally aware and laidback. With a beautiful region of rugged landscapes of waterfalls, evergreen mountains, streams, and wildlife, I am most comfortable when outdoors, away from too much concrete.
I ensure I always return to the natural environment of the PNW. However, through my travels as a child, I developed an early wanderlust, learning that having an experience trumps anything material I could ever own. While I was in school, my adventures were limited to a 40-minute car ride to Boise to take in live shows. There, I listened to killer tunes, fed off the crowd's energy, and participated in the spontaneous exchange of a concert: the give and take between the band and the audience. To this day, for me, music is an experience unto itself.
When I was growing up, the Indie music scene was on fire. In Boise, I found mental and physical grounding and I was inspired by the ideas behind Indie music. Here was a cottage industry in which I could identify — endeavoring to just be. This time and place was instrumental for me to grow into my gay identity. A person could find me at shows every weekend, seeing everything possible: The Decembrists, Sonic Youth, Death Cab for Cutie, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bloc Party, Bjork, Beastie Boys, Interpol, Arcade Fire, The Cure, Patrick Wolf, The Flaming Lips, Electrelane. Attracted to the music's deep storytelling, I continue to love Indie music today because it allows the listeners to come to their own conclusions about the music rather than what someone else says to think and feel.
Upon graduating from high school, I felt it was time for a change of venue. Curiosity runs in the family, and my summers spent traveling and witnessing my dad's work at a young age fed my desire to both travel and explore the possibilities of a creative career. After backpacking through Europe, I attended college in Sante Fe, NM, and San Francisco, CA. Photography internships came calling so I focused on hands-on learning at Outside Magazine and later in New York City at Men's Journal and Rolling Stone. Through working with my dad, I had exposure to being on set and learned how best to communicate with the crew, travel etiquette, and what it means to be collaborative. Music was never far from my heart, so I relocated to Austin to assist other photographers and start my career as a professional photographer.
I like to think that my two different college experiences majoring in film and later, photography determined my creative setlist moving forward. Influenced by film DPs such as the experimental and ever-curious approach of Robert Richardson and Emmanuel Lubezki's use of natural light, I approach my photography using a collection of approaches — elevating the initial vision, shooting from multiple angles, considering perspective, lighting, and the overall composition, varying it based on what emotions I want to convey.
I tend to approach photography with emotion because my subjects are usually my friends — my framily — very emotional connections that I choose. I found out early that strong friendships are rad, comprised of individuals who help me feel seen, heard, and accepted. Collectively, we are bonded by how we think, a community of creative minds, each of us choosing a different medium in which to communicate; art, photography, and music.
As someone who values spontaneity, I see things and feel the need to shoot them immediately. My friends have grown accustomed to me grabbing them for a quick shoot, even if they aren't ready. My coming of age has taken shape in my visual aesthetic. I enjoy capturing people in their natural environment, choosing to showcase a snippet of life, with much of my shots intentionally communicating youth, freedom, and freshness.
Color is the frontman in my imagery. Having spent many years solely focused on color treatment and black and white tones, I am hypersensitive to my work accurately reflecting my emotions and always having some punch. From visualizing a shot with the color palette in mind, collaborations with my stylist, to post-work; I use color as if a moody teenager — boldly communicating emotions and making an impact.
I believe that to bring an idea to life, to get the job done, I need to minimize obstacles, clearing the way for success. First and foremost, I ensure there is no ego on-set. After all, It takes more energy to be a jerk. By fostering an open environment and prioritizing curiosity, I want to make creating an enjoyable experience.
What’s Next on My Tour?
I love the creativity and challenge of story-telling. This plain and simple statement means a plethora of possibilities for the future. My background in film and photography is the catalyst for me wanting to spin a tale in 24 frames per second. Whether that is in the form of directing a movie or being a DP on a film is yet to be determined. While my bucket list includes doing a fashion shoot on the Faroe Islands, or partnering with my dad, using our different styles to create something, my more immediate plans include shooting a music video with bands such as Boy Harsher, Japanese Breakfast, or The Black Angels.
In the end, I want to inspire people the way others have inspired me. In the work I create and the passions I have, it's a lifestyle and a way to live — always be making new work. Play on.
If there was a music playlist to describe who I am and what I believe, it might resemble something like this:
• Early Wanderlust
• PNW Love
• Molded by Dope Indie Tunes
• Need to Engage
• Conscious Photography
• Framily is Where It's At
• Taking Notes From Dad
• Dude, I Need to Capture This
• DP Storyteller
• Color is My Frontman
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Combining his love of distinctive color to communicate emotion, music as a barometer for feeling and his celebration of the queer community, Zach Anderson’s new project highlights Drag Queens in Boise, ID.Read more
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We're Keeping It In the Family by Welcoming Zach Anderson
Today, we are proud to welcome Zach Anderson to the roster. It’s easy to say, “Welcome to the family” since Zach is Andy’s son and someone whom I’ve known since he was little.Read more