Shalom Life | December 21, 2014

Zach Hyman's Perfect Photo

Find out why CNN and Tyra Banks have been talking about this young photographer in this exclusive interview.

By: Ilan Mester

Published: May 25th, 2010 in Culture » Art » Interviews

Zach Hyman's Perfect Photo

Zach Hyman’s idea of a great photograph might seem a little out there to some, but it’s getting a lot of buzz. News outlets and TV hosts, including CNN and Tyra Banks, have been talking about the young photographer for months.

While most of his projects involve nude photos – many in public places, including the subway and Times Square – Hyman has also snapped photos for acclaimed fashion designers like Jeremy Scott, who has dressed Madonna and Lady Gaga. He can also be seen on The City, the hit MTV spinoff of The Hills.

The New York-based photographer reveals what makes a good photo to him and his upcoming projects.

You were originally attracted to theatre. When did that passion switch to photography?

I had always been attracted to photography. I had received cameras and photo equipment for all birthdays, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc. So I had always been a photographer. I fell into theatre during elementary school, where my best friend and I did the talent show every year (we had a magic act that went horribly wrong on purpose). So when it came time to go to college I was so spaced out from all the drugs I had been doing that acting school seemed like the only plausible route (not because I had bad grades, but because I would never commit myself to the death sentence of a desk job...no offense to any desk jobbers), even though I had been studying photography for the past four years in high school.


What makes a good photo to you?

Oh man. So many things. All the technical stuff, like colour or lack of colour, composition, lighting....But I think for the most part it would be subject matter. I like humorous, raunchy, borderline disgusting, completely beautiful, and or something that causes a visceral response. I feel that's the purpose of art.


How did you come up with the concept for the Decent Exposures Exhibition and your latest exhibition, Glitterous?

Decent Exposures was inspired by nude statues and paintings at the Met, as well as my desire for something that would get my heart racing. I wanted to see the reaction of the average person to a nude form in a public setting IN THE PICTURE...not after the fact. Glitterous was honestly just a location scouting trip with my buddy Carrie Shaltz, morphing into the most thrilling collaboration I've ever been a part of. The inspiration came from us wanting to take a road trip and do something exciting and beautiful...so we thought glitter is pretty beautiful and breaking into an abandoned airport/hopping up on giant blank billboards in the middle of murderous towns in the desert sounds fun. Oh, and we can get naked and throw glitter around too...that's really all it was, I guess.


What's your technique for snapping the right shot in such a short amount of time?

Have the poses set up and ready to go...take a bit of time beforehand to map it out. Then once it's on, it's ON. I shoot until I feel like we're going to get caught. Then I pack it up. It's really just knowing when's enough.


What do you think is the biggest misconception about nude photos?

That they're all pornographic, or obscene. There are a lot of people in this country especially that don't know art, don't know the body, and don't know themselves...and probably never will. Which is why this kind of work needs some more exposure...haha get it?


You were just featured in episodes of MTV's The City. How did you get involved with the show?

They saw me on the profile I did for Carson Daly and asked me to be part of it as a photographer.


What's it like shooting the series?

Very surreal for me. I feel like I actually get to do my job...and it's ACTUALLY what I do. But there are cameras there so it kind of throws me off in terms of what's actually more important...me getting the shot or me looking good, and if I accidentally flirted with Roxy too much (which is honestly just how I talk).

What's next for you?

I have a few projects coming up...one involving a commission for work to be displayed in a boutique hotel in NYC, working on a few documentary projects in terms of creating stills to promote at and during the opening and screening of the film. I shoot stills for Sesame Street and electric company on set. This will be my second year doing so.

My next project will be more studio-oriented, still nude...and a lot of mess. In terms of decent exposures, I'm going to travel the world and get shots in every spot one might conjure up. Just trying to figure out legal ramifications in all of the places I need to shoot.

I'll get the Met again as well.

For more photos, visit www.zhfoto.com.

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