Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Zach Lewis and I am a lover of culture, living in Phoenix, AZ. I work a full-time job as a researcher for Rio Salado College in Tempe, but I moonlight as a trombone player and freelance photographer here in the Valley of the Sun.
How did you get your start?
As far back as I can remember, I have always been intrigued by photography and visual artistry. I wasn’t all that in to sports as a kid, so I took lots of art and music lessons while growing up in Columbus, OH. My grandmother always encouraged me to practice my abilities, and I think my foundation in photography began with using her old Polaroid instant camera during holidays and family get-togethers. As I got a bit older, I was able to start traveling, picked up a simple point-and-shoot, and really got into urban and street photography. After college, I moved out to AZ, was able to get my hands on a decent DLSR rig, and everything has basically grown from there.
What inspires you?
As cheesy as it sounds, I consider myself a bit of a romantic in that I am truly inspired by the raw artistry and aesthetic charm of the world around us. I’ve always had this sort of underpinning affinity for the American poets and novelists of the 19th and early 20th centuries; those who abandoned all sense of normality, found escape in the natural world, and realized beauty in even the harshest of circumstances. It’s not necessarily a conscious decision, but I try to incorporate that insight and perspective into almost everything I do from shooting natural landscapes to live music portraiture.
What do you like about AZ?
After growing up in the Midwest, Arizona is a complete departure from everything I knew as a child. I love the desert heat, the punishing terrain, the harsh vegetation. I am constantly amazed by the sheer grandeur of our state, and the abundance of variation and natural diversity. I’m also devastatingly enchanted with the historic colonial Spanish influence, ‘Old West’ mining character, and the quirky mid-century Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architectural features that dot our cityscapes.
Where can we see you(r) work?
Much of my photography work from recent years can be seen at Red Rock Photos as well as my Flickr page (here) and of course right here at YabYum (see here)! You can also catch me playing trombone around town with Dry River Yacht Club and Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra.
What would you like to accomplish before you die?
Wow, that’s a loaded question. The safe answer is to enjoy my time with my beautiful wife, (probably) raise a kid or two, and travel the world whenever possible. But really, I want to make a lasting impact on our world and ensure that I am leaving this place better off than when I found it.
What is your mantra?
Enjoy life and everything that comes with it – the good, the bad, and the ugly. We only get a small amount of time on this rock, make the most of it!