Artist Interview: Danny Zapalac

We caught up with photographer Danny Zapalac aka Dr. Zapalac, who has gone from traveling the globe with some of the world’s best snowboarders to showing his work in fine art galleries and is currently working on “Tune in” a project that explores magical moments in our day to day life and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

How did you get into photography?

The craft fell on my lap.  I was working at Inflight in Seal Beach selling sticks to the Japanese when Snowboarding was making an impact. Graduated Long Beach State in business and knew I didn’t want a cubicle 9-5 er.

Whala..  she arrived in the form of my friends summer school project.

Did you have any formal education in it/how did you learn?

Yea, OCC in Costa Mesa was the base of the foundation.  I like a sturdy something below the feet.  Feel a bit more stable that way.

What formats do you shoot?

Depends on the scene.  The Mamiya range finder finds it’s way to the forefront on most of my personal work.

Have you adopted digital technology?

One must to adapt.  It’s a part of the tool shed.  A landscaper doesn’t only have one set of clippers on his belt.  He has a variety to handle all sorts of inquires.

What are the pros and cons of each?

Digi gets her done.  Film feels yummy for the long term.

What kind of equipment are you using?

Japanese quality products.  Mamiya, Canon, Toyo, Yashica

How did you get inspired to shoot snowboarding?

In the mid 90’s I was shredding snow, sliding waves and gliding concrete all in one day.  It made sense to get involved in one of these.  The snow side of things took me to foreign places so I guess I was ready to get out of So Cal and become enlightened.

How is your lifestyle photography different from your action material?

Life is life.  I find the unique attributes in it all.  I seem to see things happen before they do and line up to experience them.

What challenges do you face as an independent photographer?

Can’t complain.  Feel fortunate to be a part of the entrepreneurial dream.

How do you overcome them/what keeps you motivated?

Failure is not an option.  My father, who escaped communist Czechoslovakia, taught me drive and hard work can amount to something.  It’s my parents discipline that molded how I deal with my business and family life.

What advice do you have for the aspiring photographer?

Be honest, be humble, don’t follow, understand communication, listen, listen, listen, and learn.  The past can teach you something.

What are your favorite projects that you have worked on in the past?

“Tune In ” has been a fulfillment.  It’s about being in the moment.  Seeing what is around you ..  Not attempting to fabricate.  The natural beauty of life as it unfolds is glorious.  California has such an appeal to it… It’s about being aware of what is occurring around you and becoming a part of it.

What else keeps you occupied?

Health, tending to the Studio on Farm, landscaping, evolving, Lyndsey my love, my friends, Johnny the dodge, being inspired and inspiring others.

What can we expect to see from you in the near future?

Having a smile, being a father, creating with talented folks, and traveling with those Japanese quality products.

For more go to http://www.dannyzapalac.com and make sure to check “Today” a group show Danny is curating at 210AR4T in Laguna Beach, opening Sept. 2nd!

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