Zeno Gill is a longtime contributor and friend of CVLTARTES. He mostly shoots portraiture, street, or travel photography. He has shot for Elite Models, Disney, Brylcreem, Raw Beauty Talks, and several boutique model agencies in NYC. We talked to Zeno about his biggest passion, the photography, about nature, and, of course, inspiration and femininity.
Hi, Zeno! Please let us know how and when did you become interested in photography?
I enjoyed photography as a child but remained peripherally interested until I became a parent, then I became much more interested again and began considering technique and equipment seriously.
How did you arrive at the main themes in your work? As we’ve noticed, they range from portrait photography and nude photography to street photography.
Portraits and street photography are what I most enjoy shooting than viewing. Nature photography, on the other hand, I can enjoy shooting, but I don’t enjoy it as much when I look back at the work.
Please describe your ideal photographic situation.
Outdoors with unexpected factors; no time limit; no pressure.
What is your photographic belief system? What rules (or lack of them) guide your process from idea to execution?
I like randomness and adaptability. And I don’t like retouched photography.
I try to schedule a shoot to force myself into a creative situation.
How much preparation do you put into taking a photograph/series of photographs?
Normally I put in very little preparation beyond choosing a model and a location. I like to leave room for exploration and improvisation. Sometimes, though, I start with a specific idea, mood, object, or context to use as an origin point.
Now that you’ve had a chance to really look back at your work, is there any picture or series that you love in particular?
That’s a hard question! There are a few series that sometimes come to mind when I think of my most personally satisfying work. Here is one: ‘Late Better Dark’
How has the pandemic impacted your practice? Have you been shooting as much?
I have been shooting much less frequently, sadly. And it’s been hard to maintain relationships with models I know and to meet new models. Overall, the pandemic has been crappy, but it’s been much worse for other people, so I try not to complain.
What’s your useable-to-unusable ratio when you review images from a shoot?
This varies. If I’m doing something technically experimental, like some of the things I do with long exposures, multiple exposures, or projections, the ratio may be low. The ratio is much higher with less experimental work.
Creative work is known to be accompanied by a lot of questioning and doubts. Where do you find motivation and inspiration to move forward in difficult times?
That is another hard question to answer! With photography, working with a good, collaborative model will usually motivate and inspire me, so, if I’m not feeling creative or productive, I try to schedule a shoot to force myself into a creative situation.
How do you portray femininity in your work?
I don’t know that I try to portray femininity specifically. I think that I may try instead to portray personality and beauty — physical and otherwise.
What kind of pictures would we find on the camera roll of your phone?
At the moment, you would find photos of strange signs on country roads, my dog, vintage cars, and a dead fish on a sidewalk.
Where do you find yourself when you’re not taking photos?
At my day job as a graphic designer and at home with my wife, daughter, and dog.
All copyrights: (c) Zeno Gill
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