As a former Art Producer, I have always been drawn to personal projects because they are the sole vision of the photographer and not an extension of an art director, photo editor, or graphic designer. This new column, “The Art of the Personal Project” will feature the personal projects of photographers using the Yodelist marketing database. You can read their blog at http://yodelist.wordpress.com. Projects are discovered online and submissions are not accepted.
Today’s featured photographer is: Diana Zalucky
How long have you been shooting?
More than half my life. I picked up a camera in high school and haven’t put it down since.
Are you self-taught or photography school taught?
I studied photography at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and from ages 21 to 29, I was shooting everything from advertising campaigns to celebrities for Disney. My experience working there was the education of a lifetime. This summer will mark my 3 year anniversary of having my own business!
With this particular project, what was your inspiration to shoot it?
I grew up in the US Virgin Islands and have always had a fascination with extreme cold weather. I like to read all the books about people losing limbs in the mountains and all the great epic adventure stories that go along with that lifestyle. I also have a strong fascination with people and the art they create. And by “art,” I mean whatever it is a person does that they love. I may not understand what you are doing, but I do understand that unwavering passion and need to create as if it’s your only choice. To be able to find that connection with others is very special to me.
My inspiration for this shoot came after reading a magazine in my doctor’s office. It was a small feature in Oprah about this amazing woman, Zoya Denure, who left the modeling world to become a dog musher in Alaska. I decided to look her up online and we planned an initial visit for the Iditarod a few months later. In a bittersweet moment, I had to cancel my trip for a big ad job with a dream client, but we stayed in touch rest of the year and planned my visit for a different race almost a year later.
Initially, I was planning to photograph Zoya, but her baby became sick and numerous dogs needed to be cared for at their kennel. Instead, I documented her husband, John Schandelmeir for the race. I really believe that everything works out as it’s meant to when you keep an open mind and expect very little. During my time with Zoya’s family I realized there is a bigger story that I want to tell, and I want to tell it in a way that’s far beyond my comfort zone. I hope to begin what I call Part 2 later this year.
How many years have you been shooting this project before you decided to present it?
I shot this project last month and made my first selects just for you!
How long do you spend on a personal project before deciding if it is working?
If the subject matter or experience excites me and keeps me curious, then I know it’s working.
Since shooting for your portfolio is different from personal work, how do you feel when the work is different?
I don’t feel a difference. I have to always be shooting or I’ll go crazy. Anytime I’m shooting and completely surrendering to the moment, I feel makes it personal and if the images make it into your portfolio, then even better!
Have you ever posted your personal work on social media venues such as Reddit, Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook?
I use Instagram all the time and then link it up with Facebook and Tumblr.
If so, has the work ever gone viral and possibly with great press?
Have you printed your personal projects for your marketing to reach potential clients?
Thus far, all my promos have included a mix of commercial and personal work. I would like to do a special piece focusing on the images from this project.
January 2015 I spent a week with Crazy Dog Kennel, a competitive racing kennel dedicated to the training and rehabilitation of unwanted sled dogs. These particular selects are from the 4 days I spent with legendary musher John Schandelmeir. I was both shooting and helping as a dog handler during the Copper Basin 300, the toughest 300 mile race in Alaska. The Copper Basin is known as a mini Iditarod because it’s a good way for mushers to test the dogs’ endurance. My goal was to document the devotion, hard work and connection this team has with one another and experience a slice of the dog mushing lifestyle.
Diana Zalucky is a photographer/director hailing from St.Thomas, US Virgin Islands, who is happy to call Los Angeles home. Her passion and energy on set brings out the best in people, resulting in organic images that are filled with spirit.
An explorer at heart who has travelled on assignment to over 30 countries, her images inspire viewers to be adventurous and enjoy life to it’s fullest. She gets giddy over new passport stamps, beautiful light and good food. Diana loves narrating on set, playing in the mountains or ocean and finding the good life wherever she goes.
Diana Zalucky is represented by Held & Associates http://www.cynthiaheld.com
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s, after founding the art buying department at The Martin Agency then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies. She has a new Twitter fed with helpful marketing information. Follow her@SuzanneSease.