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Tom Zimberoff
Self-portrait © 1990 Tom Zimberoff
Tom Zimberoff
Tom Zimberoff

Tom Zimberoff

Country: United States
Birth: 1951

A classically-trained clarinetist, Zimberoff studied music at the University of Southern California before pivoting to photography. As a photojournalist, he has covered hundreds of historical and breaking news stories published worldwide, from the renegotiation of the Panama Canal Treaties; to NATO war games, a trip to Beijing with Secretary of State Alexander Haig opening trade talks with China; the eruption of Mount St. Helens; Super Bowl XIV; to documenting East LA gangs. One plum assignment from Esquire had him photographing "The Most Eligible Women in America." He's shot many hundreds of portraits, including magazine covers from John Lennon to Steve Jobs plus two sitting American presidents (Carter and Reagan) for the covers of Time Magazine and Fortune, as well as advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies, Hollywood movie studios, and the US Navy.

Zimberoff was nineteen when he shot his first photo assignment for Time magazine: the farewell public recital of violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz - a personal hero. By the time he turned twenty-one, Zimberoff had toured with the Jackson-5, the Rolling Stones, and Stevie Wonder, spent a day photographing John Lennon, and shot the first cover of People magazine. (It was the 1973 proof-of-concept issue featuring Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz.)

Zimberoff has fun describing his pursuit as a predatory sport: hunting big game. "We don't 'load' cameras much anymore," he says, "but we still 'aim' them and 'shoot' pictures." He doesn't stalk his prey but gets close enough for a good clean shot (close enough for rapport as much as proximity), to avoid inflicting gratuitous wounds. He bags his quarry with a lens instead of looking down the barrel of a gun but, he also says, "I hang their heads on a wall to admire like trophies." His hunting license was a press pass. His portraits can be found in private collections and museums, including the National Portrait Gallery in London; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design. Recently, his entire career archive - literally a ton of film - was acquired by the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. His first two formal portraits were Marx and Lennon - Groucho and John.

Tom's expertise with the business side of photography is evidenced by the articles he's had published in leading industry journals. He is also the author of Photography: Focus on Profit (Allworth Press, 2002), which has been used as a textbook at colleges throughout the country. He also taught briefly at several San Francisco Bay Area colleges. He taught himself to write code and developed PhotoByte®, the pioneering business-management software for commercial photographers.

It has been used to teach at colleges across the country. After a ten-year hiatus from shooting pictures to pursue his software business and writing, Tom picked up his cameras once again to illustrate another book, Art of the Chopper (Bulfinch Press, 2003), his tribute to a decades-long affinity for custom motorcycles. It became a best-seller, followed by a second volume (Hachette, 2006), with forewords by Sonny Barger of the Hells Angels and James Hetfield of the band Metallica, respectively.

As an encore to the Art of the Chopper books, Zimberoff was invited to curate an exhibition at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in 2008, where thirty of the actual motorcycles illustrated in print were displayed on pedestals as works of sculpture. They were juxtaposed with Zimberoff's photographs large-format black-and-white portraits plus documentary (candid) photos of the moteuriers who built each chopper. The "Art of the Chopper" exhibition traveled to the Appleton Art Museum in Ocala, Florida and to Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri.

Tom's most recent venture is a startup dedicated to creating the first data-driven marketplace for commercial and editorial photography.

Zimberoff was born in Los Angeles in 1951 to a family with three grown siblings already a generation older - "like growing up with five parents," he says. His mother owned a boutique in Las Vegas, during the 50s and 60s; and his father was a musician who played the Vegas hotel orchestras that backed up Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Bobby Darrin et al. Young "Tommy" grew up in Las Vegas, returning to California, on and off, to live with his older sister and two years in military school), finally leaving Las Vegas for his senior year at Beverly Hills High School when his parents retired. Then he received his music scholarship to USC.

Zimberoff now lives in San Francisco, where he says he is ready to throw his lens cap back in the ring, as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic ends. In the meantime he is writing a memoir, an anthology of stories about his career. The title is A Photographic Memory. Each chapter juxtaposes one portrait with equally compelling prose about the events surrounding its creation.
 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Marco Sanges
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1970
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Harvey Stein is a professional photographer, teacher, lecturer, author and curator based in New York City. He currently teaches at the International Center of Photography. Stein is a frequent lecturer on photography both in the United States and abroad. He was the Director of Photography at Umbrella Arts Gallery, located in the East Village of Manhattan from 2009 until 2019 when it lost its lease and closed.. He has also been a member of the faculty of the School of Visual Arts, New School University, Drew University, Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Bridgeport. A recipient of a Creative Arts Public Service (CAPS) fellowship and numerous artist in residency grants, Stein's eighth and latest book, Mexico Between Life and Death, was published in the fall of 2018 by Kehrer Verlag (Germany). A new book, Then and There: Mardi Gras 1979 will be published by Zatara Press in the Spring of 2020. Other books of Stein's photographs are Parallels: A Look at Twins, E.P. Dutton (1978); Artists Observed, Harry Abrams, Inc. (1986); Coney Island, W.W. Norton, Inc. (1998); Movimento: Glimpses of Italian Street Life, Gangemi Editore, Rome (2006); Coney Island 40 Years, Schiffer Publishing, (2011); Harlem Street Portraits, Schiffer Publishing (2013); and Briefly Seen New York Street Life, Schiffer Publishing (2015). Stein's photographs and portfolios have been published in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Time, Life, Esquire, American Heritage, Smithsonian, The New York Times, Reader's Digest, Glamour, GQ Magazine (Mexico), Forbes, Psychology Today, Playboy, Harpers, Connoisseur, Art News, American Artist, New York, People, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, The Hopkins Review (cover), Sun Magazine (cover) and all the major photo magazines, including Camera Arts, Black & White Magazine (cover), Shutterbug, Popular Photography, American Photo, Camera, Afterimage, PDN, Zoom, Rangefinder, Photo Metro, fotoMagazine (Germany), photo technique, Zeke and View Camera. Stein's photographs have been widely exhibited in the United States and Europe — 86 one-person and over 165 group shows to date. He has curated 64 exhibits since 2007. His photographs are in more than 57 permanent collections, including the George Eastman Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography, the Denver Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), the Portland (Oregon) Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York, Museet for Fotokunst (Odense, Denmark), Musee De La Photographie (Charleroi, Belguim), the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Addison Gallery of American Art, The New York Historical Society and Museum, The Brooklyn Historical Society, and among others, the corporate collections of Johnson & Johnson, Hewlett Packard, LaSalle Bank (Chicago), Barclay Bank and Credit Suisse. Stein's work is represented by Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New York City. Statement What do our photos say? That is an important question that we all wrestle with. I have always wanted to do strong and meaningful images. Not all our photos can be that, some are what I call "throwaways", fun and silly and not too serious. But basically I want to say something through my work. I think the best way to do this is through long term projects shot over time that gives us a deeper understanding of the subject. I love single images and they should also be strong, but I think more meaning comes from in depth studies of a subject, not one or a few photos of the subject. And I always want my images to be a reflection of how I think, behave, believe in. Remember: portraiture becomes self portraiture. As a writer usually reveals herself through her work, so does any artist, and as photographers, we are artists. I wish to convey a sense of life glimpsed, a sense of contingency and ephemerality. In experiencing these glimpses of life, I hope in turn to become more aware and knowing of my own life. I believe photographs speak to us; they are reminders of the past. To look at a family album is to recall a vanished memory or to see old friends materialize before our eyes. In making photographs, the photographer is simultaneously a witness to the moment and a recorder of its demise; this is the camera's power. Photography's magic is its ability to touch, inspire, and to connect to each viewer according to that person's unique sensibility and history. Exclusive Interview with Harvey Stein
Erberto Zani
Erberto Zani (Parma, Italy, 1978) is a journalist and documentary photographer who specializes in human rights issues. Graduate at school of applied Arts Paolo Toschi in graphic design, after the studies in History of Art at University of Parma he worked as a photographer in advertisement sector (1998-2004). Journalist and photographer for the newspaper Gazzetta di Parma (2004-2007) and editor in chief for some local magazines, he becomes freelance in 2008. During these years he documented the destruction created by the earthquake in Haiti, the climate crises in Sahel, the Maha Kumbh Mela in India, the daily life inside the ship breaking yards in Bangladesh, the exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar, the refugee camps in Lebanon, Greece and Uganda, the effects of the war in Marawi city / Philippines. Actually, Zani is working on two long term documentary projects, both around the world: Dark World, about the illegal mineral's extraction, and Survivors, about acid attack victims. 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China
1929 | † 2004
Don Hong-Oai was born in Canton, China in 1929 as the youngest son to a business family and was raised and educated in Saigon, Vietnam. At age 13 he began an apprenticeship at a Chinese photo and portrait shop. In 1979 he immigrated to the United States and settled in Chinatown of San Francisco. Don began making a living by selling his landscape photographs in front of Macy’s and began to receive recognition for his craftsmanship. His style was heavily influenced by the legendary photographer Long Chin-San and his technique of layering negatives. By taking three negatives, foreground, middle ground, and far ground, and selecting a subject from each negative, Don would form one composite image of a serene landscape. All the various scenes in an image existed in reality, but each uniquely handcrafted photograph in its entirety is a concoction of the artist's imagination. Each photograph was assembled only by the artist himself thus he never had an assistant nor a master printer like some photographers. His work has won scores of international awards and has been collected worldwide. Sadly, Don passed away in San Francisco in 2004. Don was born in Canton, China in 1929 and spent most of his life in Vietnam. As a young boy in Saigon he apprenticed at a photography studio. When he was not at the studio, he traveled and took photographs of the landscape. He stayed in Vietnam through the war, but fled by boat to California in 1979. He lived in San Francisco’s Chinatown where he had a small darkroom to create his photographs. While living the US he returned to China every few years to make new negatives. Only in the last few years of his life was his work discovered by a wider public, and he was kept very busy making prints for collectors across the US and elsewhere. Don died in June 2004. The photographs of Don Hong-Oai are made in a unique style of photography, which can be considered Asian pictorialism. This method of adapting a Western art for Eastern purposes probably originated in the 1940s in Hong Kong. One of its best known practitioners was the great master Long Chin-San (who died in the 1990s at the age of 104) with whom Don Hong-Oai studied. With the delicate beauty and traditional motifs of Chinese painting (birds, boats, mountains, etc.) in mind, photographers of this school used more than one negative to create a beautiful picture, often using visual allegories. Realism was not a goal. Don Hong-Oai was one of the last photographers to work in this manner. He is also arguably the best. He has won hundreds of awards given by photography societies throughout Asia and by international juries of Kodak and Nikon. Source: www.gallery71.com
David Johndrow
United States
David Johndrow is a fine art photographer living in Austin, Texas. After studying photography the University of Texas, he began shooting commercial work as well as pursuing his more personal fine art photography.David’s continuing series, Terrestrials, combines his passion for gardening and photography and features macro nature photographs of animals and plants that inhabit his Hill Country, Texas garden. To realize his vision, he prints with silver gelatin, platinum/palladium, gum-bichromate and gumoil.His photographs are part of the Wittliff Collection of Southwestern and Mexican Photography, as well as in many private collections.All about David Johndrow:AAP: When did you realize you wanted to be a photographer?I took a darkroom class in art school and fell in love with the process. The first roll of film I shot I processed and printed myself.AAP: Where did you study photography?I learned photography at The University of Texas, but I built my own darkroom and started working on my own. I really honed my printing skills working as a printer in a photo lab. Just the shear volume of work I printed during that time made me a better printer.AAP: Do you have a mentor or role model?I can’t say I had any mentors except for photographers like Irving Penn who I loved and was inspired by.AAP: How long have you been a photographer?I’ve been a photographer for 30 years.AAP: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?My first shot was of my friends who were in a band. I had other friends who were actors and comedians, so I started taking lots of portraits for peoples publicity shots.AAP: What or who inspires you?I am inspired creatively by many different kinds of artists, but my biggest inspiration is the natural world. Rarely do I go in search of photographs; rather things just appear to me when I spend enough time outdoors. Gardening is my biggest obsession next to art.AAP: How could you describe your style?I have lots of styles but my most well know work is done in macro. I guess the one common thing in all my work is a simple graphic composition.AAP: Do you have a favorite photograph or series? I love Matt Mahurin, especially his portraits of Tom Waits. AAP: What kind of gear do you use?I shoot with a Hasselblad on 120 film.AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images?Although I shoot on film, I edit my images on the computer. It helps me group images in a series or arrange them for exhibition.AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?My favorite photographer is Irving Penn.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?I would tell young photographers to shoot a lot of images, do a lot of experiments, and try to learn some different printing processes.AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?Don’t try and shoot photos of things you think others would like but shoot subjects you are most interested in. Every subject has been done before, so try and put your own spin on it.AAP: What are your projects?The project I’m working on is close-ups of natural textures.AAP: Your best memory as a photographer?My best memory is of shooting the pyramid at Chichen Itsa. It was at the solstice and I wanted a photo of the serpent shadow on the steps, but it was a cloudy, rainy day. Suddenly, right before closing, the sun burst out and I got some great shots.AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?Don’t knowAAP: The compliment that touched you most?“Every time I look at your photograph I see something different”.AAP: If you were someone else who would it be?No one else.AAP: Your favorite photo book?Irving Penn: Passages
Christian Vizl
Mexico
1972
CHRISTIAN VIZL was born in México City and has been a photographer for over three decades. He has won dozens of international professional awards including Wildlife Photographer of the year, International photographer of the year and Sony World Photography awards. He has served as judge in several international underwater photography contests and his images have been published in numerous outlets including National Geographic and Ocean Geographic. Artist Statement "Every since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember, I was attracted to the sea. I dreamt about what lay beneath the waves, and how would it look if suddenly all the water vanished, leaving in stasis all the animals and living creatures. In this way, I could walk inside the ocean and see them all, suspended for a moment in time and space. I have devoted my life to exploring and contemplate the amazing beauty of the ocean and it has been an incredible journey that has brought me a deep feeling of connection with nature, but sadly during my lifetime I have witness the ever-increasing devastation that we humans are creating in this planet. Today the world's Ocean is in grave danger. Overfishing, pollution, plastics, radiation, climate change, acidification and other human pressures threaten the fundamental nature of the ocean and it's animals are being pushed to near extinction. The time to act and reverse our negative impact is now, before it's too late risking loosing everything. The majority of humans see marine animals merely as tons of food, but I see them as so much more than that. They don't have a voice that we can understand, so the higher purpose of my images is to be a voice of the ocean and for the ocean, hoping that people can get a glimpse of who they really are, beautiful sentient individuals, with feelings and different personalities, with complex behaviors and interesting lives that science is only starting to understand. I believe Photography is capable of real service to humanity, promoting empathy and initiating change, so my main purpose as a photographer is to create poetic images showing the incredible beauty of these animals knowing they carry the power of changing our perception and spark the love and empathy that we all have inside. If we want to have a future in this planet, we need to understand that our lives are interconnected to all living animals, and our own well being is directly linked to the well being of these animals. As Dr. Sylvia Earl stated, "No blue no green, if the oceans die, we die" All the images where taken in their natural environment, with great respect to the animals, and for postproduction I only use basic settings in Lightroom." Photography is all about light, and in my opinion, it is the single most important aspect when it comes to creating appealing, inspiring and touching images. Beyond technical issues, what's most important is how I apply and manipulate the light that's available in order to create pictures with dramatic effect, carrying depths of emotion and using contrast and tonalities as means to emphasize form and structure of the scenery. I focus on the emotional impact of the final shot that will connect on a deeper level with the people that observe these photographs. Just as a poet uses words to create poetry, a photographer uses light to create images. So when I'm underwater taking pictures, one of my goals is to create poetic images through the use of light. I try to capture sublime moments of the marine environment, the essence of being there, in that experience and in the presence of that particular animal, capturing their splendor and soul. It's sheer beauty and poetry with images that inspire, make us vibrate through the beauty in every corner of the ocean, an epic sight that make us dream of a better world, where we value and care for all expressions of life.
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Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #27: Colors
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes