Capturing the Little Things in Life 

Capturing the Little Things in Life 

Photo Credit: Zoe Zusman

A bit about my photography

Zoe Zusman, Staff Writer 

So, you may know me as that one girl who writes cutesy little articles for The Mike about random topics. I am the same girl who then provides my opinions where it’s not really needed. Or, maybe you know me from my Instagram account. I say this because someone randomly came up to me once and said, “I know you… I follow you,” and I responded: “Yeah okay…sure!” Let me tell you: I thought it was the strangest thing, and I’ve never forgotten it.  

Was that second point a little vain and conceited? Yeah, for sure. Do I care? Nope. That’s because this article is all about me. I thought it would be a fun shift from my normal reviews or the fashion advice that I usually write. And don’t worry — I’m not just going to blab about myself. I’m going to be talking about my photography, which is something I’m very passionate about, as well as something few people know about.  

I think what initially got me into photography was my grade 11 media arts class. We’d go on walks through Little Italy, and each week there was a different principle of photography that we had to capture. Now, I was taking photos prior to the class, but seeing others’ work gave me the inspiration to experiment more with angles and framing. That class also sparked my strong love for film, which I still have to this day — it plays a big role in my photography. To me, photography is the stills of cinematography. Whenever I watch a film, I’ve always been enamoured by the various ways one can shoot a scene. From the framing, angles, or even lighting, I think that cinematography is the most compelling aspect of film.  

I guess my style of photography emerged from these roots: my photo walks in grade 11 and inspiration from films. It’s probably also good to note that my photography is mainly centred around the city. It is also centred around capturing the smaller, more unique angles of places I go. I never plan to take photos anywhere; I only take photos when I’m going about my day and I come across something I want to photograph.  

There are some key features of my work, but they do vary from shot to shot. I’ve always liked a colour motif in my photos, aligning the shot so that you get hints of hues of the same colour throughout the image. I find it creates cohesion in the photo. My biggest stylistic choice is the lack of depth in which I frame the shot, and then in turn how the light illuminates the frame. I think having a well-populated shot — but then flattening that to make it look almost like a painting — is a true art, and I try to incorporate that as much as I can when shooting buildings or the urban cityscape. This technique came from my love of Gordon Willis, a cinematographer from the ‘70s who worked on some of my favourite films — The Godfather, Annie Hall, and The Parallax View, to name a few. I really love how those films are shot in the artistic, painterly look.  

Truthfully, I don’t know how else to describe my photography other than saying I think it’s beautiful to capture a certain and unique angle of something you find in everyday life. (Okay, now for some self-promo, I’m sorry.) I recently just had my photos in a Victoria College exhibit. It is still up in Goldring if you would like to see it, and there should be another series coming soon. It’s great to see my photos in print because, usually, they’re just on my Instagram account digitally, and the change of scale and medium really impact your relation to the image. 

This leads me to my shameless self-plug: my photography account! If you like the photos displayed here, you can follow me on Instagram @_photosby_z. It’s genuinely just a place to curate my photos and post random shots I take — nothing serious. Photography is something I’ve been trying to take more seriously, and eventually, I’d love to work more in the cinematography space. But for now, I’m going to continue to take my photos of random things and try to make the life look a little cooler than it sometimes is.