Zave Smith’s “Serving New Dishes”


By Zave Smith

Often our best work is produced in between. Suddenly we have a moment. Suddenly we have a bit of space between our client’s projects. A model calls wanting to shoot, a book read on an airplane leaves a lasting impression.

Copyright Zave Smith

“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern is a novel about a circus in the late 19th century. The world Morgenstern created in this novel was a world I loved visiting. In Morgenstern’s circus, ascetics were as important as daring.

Copyright Zave Smith

Yandea, my subject, is beautiful, smart and knows her art history. On the phone she mentions she has a black and white dress, she mentions that she does not have a car so we are going to have shoot near her home, she also mentions that there was a small carnival a block away. With visions from “The Night Circus” in my head I drove out to Reading.

Copyright Zave Smith

Sometimes we shoot with a game plan and with a layout in hand. Other times we just go into the visual kitchen with various ingredients to see if we can cook something for supper. My shoot with Yandea was a box of flour, a quart of milk, an egg, some chicken and a few different unlabeled jars of seasonings. When I looked at her outfit I thought, “let’s paint her face in black and white.” When I saw an empty field near her home, I grabbed a hula-hoop. Yandea also wanted to shoot in a colorful peasant dress so over to the Carnival we went, dress on, searching for the fun.

Copyright Zave Smith

The next day when looking over the images, I knew that I had some interesting stuff but the images felt flat. For a week I played with the post processing trying different color palettes to balance my vision of fantasy and reality, of beauty, fun and the sadness that I felt while shooting. It took me a week of walking away and walking back to my desk to find the right visual seasonings that made a plate of ingredients into a photograph.

Copyright Zave Smith

It’s time to head back to the airports. It is time to fulfill my client’s dreams. In this day of shrinking budgets and invisible clients the only way to become visible, and to keep our phones ringing, is to serve new dishes. New dishes are not born during the rush. They are born during the times in between.

Copyright Zave Smith

To see more of Zave Smith’s work go to his website and Altpick page.

About altpick connects

Established in 1992, The Alternative Pick commenced with a clear mission, providing creative buyers with a vehicle to source the best brightest and most exciting illustrators, photographers, graphic designers and animators in the business. The Alternative Pick sourcebook (1992-2005) became the outlet for cutting-edge commercial talent, offering a unique platform for artists to showcase their work. The Alternative Pick Deck (2009-2012) offered a fun and engaging format for locating leading commercial artists. In addition, The Altpick Awards (2003-2011) introduced yet another way to provide a platform for talents to shine. To meet the demands of an ever-changing industry, was launched in 1996 and presently provides a vehicle for talent to utilize the web to connect more effectively with buyers. As we mark our 30th anniversary in 2021, remains a premier source for creative professionals and we plan to continue to push the envelope providing the best vehicle for buyers to connect with creative talent.
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