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Shane Zanath

I’m a physical therapist from Scottsdale, Arizona. I truly never intended to get as involved with photography to the extent I currently have come to understand. With hindsight, perhaps it was inevitable that my other interests would one day converge on the common theme of photography. Although I’m relatively new to photography in terms of using a DSLR camera and developing RAW image work flow, the forces that have quickly driven me to where I am today in understanding photography come from two passionate interests and one powerful mechanism of expression.

First, I have a passion forcing me to seek exploration. I’ve always had a curiosity for the unknown, and whether that is hiking a new trail locally, getting lost regionally on the road less traveled in my 4x4 Tacoma, or flying clear across the world, I’ve personally come to value the exquisite abundance of treasures this world has to offer for escape from day to day life. When you recognize such an important value, you naturally want to share your experience with others. However, over the years I started to recognize that sharing this value with others is easier said than done. That’s because the act of articulating the aesthetic value of these experiences in words tends to be void of any emotional response from the person listening; at least in almost all situations I’ve encountered. Although I realized my own frustration for lacking a mechanism of communication for my experiences within nature, there was little I could do to replicate how my experiences felt.

Second, I have a passion for astronomy in particular and science in general. In fact, so much so that I seriously considered switching majors in college to astronomy just to study the stars. To me there is no more humbling feeling than to capture a long exposure of the Milky Way. In this respect, photography has made me further understand why science is so appealing to begin with: it’s methods can be independently repeated. Just like science, photography allows us to better understand the world and to manipulate it according to our understandings. I was well aware of the vastness of our own galaxy, but knowing its size from reading is one thing. Confirming it for yourself is something that borders an awe inspiring spiritual experience. Photography has additionally taught me more about the world than I could ever have imagined. It has given me new insight into the nature of reality itself. With this has come an increasingly accurate ability to predict weather and light. And it’s reignited a curiosity for better understanding color, memory, and a vast number of other interesting phenomenon even including the Uncertainty Principle that lies at the heart of quantum mechanics.

Lastly, photography offers a mechanism of expression I believe is more powerful than any words: iconography. I grew up with parents I feel extremely fortunate loved to travel and ignited my own passion for exploration. But I also grew up hearing the cliché expressions, “Well, you would have had to been there.” Or “The pictures don’t do it justice.” I don’t believe a picture will ever surpass the actual justice of visiting the magnificent places the world has to offer. But I want the iconography of my pictures to speak where my words fall short. As such, I’ve learned the best response to pictures not doing justice is to make them do justice!

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  • Scottsdale, AZ, USA