Updated: May 16, 2019
Growing up for me wasn't the easiest thing or well wasn't as easy as it should have been. Just for me to say my name or a simple hello felt like I was screaming in front of the most homophobic people in America that I was gay. I felt that every time I opened my mouth I flipped a coin hoping that it would land on the side of acceptance and not on a laugh or a "Why do you sound like a girl fag." I got a lot taken from me because of who I was. I was too scared to meet new people who probably would of accepted me. I left behind sports I loved to play because straight guys couldn't handle the fact that I was quicker then them on the basketball court or that I could hit a volleyball harder then them. Who would want to be apart of a team that constantly all together chanted "look theres the faggot" in the locker rooms and on the buses. I felt very alone and confused. I'll never forget that dark place I was in during the 7th grade looking out my bedroom window not really caring to go on. I'll never forget how numb I was and how scary that was.
It wasn't until I started going through my old albums under my bed that very same night that I realized all these pictures I have taken. Yes, they were your cliche landscapes and pictures of animals. But I got this weird feeling that I wanted to take more. I had something to hold on to and even a idea that seems crazy to me now but I wanted to have a photo in Nat Geo Wild's magazine. It made me realize I didn't want to be finished. I laugh now at the idea that a 13 year old thought he could feel finished.
However, I can truly say that photography saved my life. It made me want to not end my story and that is why it will forever be the thing that matters most to me. Photography is where I put all my pain and depression. People ask why I don't like to shoot fashion, editorial etc. and its because taking a photo is deeper for me. Its my place to put things that are not pretty. It's the place I put things so that I can breath for a second. Photography has helped me deal with so much loss in my life. From losing myself, from the death of my cousin and from my first heartbreak. It has been there with me every step of the way. When I don't feel like speaking my photos speak for me and when I don't feel like going on I remind myself of all these ideas that are not made into photos yet. Photography is how I deal with situations and feelings. I didn't know how to deal with the idea of someone so young dying and the idea of someone I wanted to love only hurt me and so I turned to my photography. There was countless nights of me not sleeping and instead of just laying there I wrote in my books pages filled with ideas and tear stains or edited photos making sure my keyboard didn't get too soaked with my sadness. Yes, these nights weren't the best but I'll tell you about one specific night. The night when the guy I would of loved told me I wasn't enough. It fucking sucked I broke and promised to never open myself up to someone again. I cried for hours, but also in those hours I opened up my sketch pad and created my ideas which got me into my dream school.
So, if you were to ask "Zac, what does photography mean to you?" I would simple say,
Photography is my voice, photography is what keeps me alive and photography is the reason why I want to wake up in the morning.