Zachary Chick loves people. That’s the impression I got from seeing his pictures, and was confirmed after talking with him. This New York City-based photographer never thought about the possibility of his hobby being his profession, it just happened organically as he was living his life and discovering himself.
His photography is a translation of his love for life and his desire to keep moments forever, with which so many of us can identify. He portrays people that he truly cares about and is mesmerized by, and that comes through very strongly on his pictures. The conversation we had, where we ended up just talking about life in general, things we love, dealing with emotions and interacting with people, is the best analogy to describe what shooting means to him. With Zachary it all comes down to love. That is, at its heart, what photography is for him. What follows are just some snippets of our long talk, to help you have an idea of how this very interesting, loving individual’s mind works.
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How did you start out? You didn’t even think about being a photographer for a long time…
Exactly! I actually went to school for Film Production, so I was reaching for that while internally I was figuring out other things. So until passed 25, I never thought about being a photographer. I realised it was my calling, and you don’t get to choose that – it literally finds its way to you.
That actually makes sense, because then you’ve lived and experienced a bit more and you know yourself better… 
Yeah! So just do your thing and follow your own path, but be sure you are living in the present. In this trajectory you change and evolve, and in the process of learning who I was I ended up doing what I do now without making any conscious decision. Photography is just the thing that made sense in my hands to capture memories.
So for you it really is more about the memories attached to the pictures than the pictures themselves?
Photos are just stuff. But the memories that you are holding onto are everything. It doesn’t have to be a super high quality picture taken with the last best camera, it can just be photos quickly taken with your phone or even Snapchat screenshots. That’s the most beautiful thing in the world. That’s why I do it and why I feel like it’s a hobby really, but that’s the reason why it’s more than a hobby too. Because I could never do anything else. Photography is just the medium that happened to fall on me to be able to capture it.
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Let’s talk a little bit about your subjects, which are very important for you. You shoot people, and most of the times those are your friends or people you’ve made a point to get to know, why?
I do shoot my friends a lot. I think I have the greatest group of friends, who are the coolest bunch of people. Luckily I live where I live, and I’m surrounded by my peers, and they are all very romantic people and very good at what they do. A lot of people shoot models, and I also do shoot a lot of models but the reason I book them is because they are the people that I’ve been hanging out for the last week straight. And I will plan editorials around certain models just because I love them as people and really want to shoot with them. Caring about what you are shooting is everything. It’s when you’ve had a chance to really get to know someone that you start to photograph and capture something really special. If you love and have a relationship with any of your subjects, you are comfortable opening yourselves up to each other, and it gets to a point when you are just playing, you are doing things and you are not even aware of them anymore.
So yeah, shooting subjects that you care about is everything, the love you have for them will shine through this pictures, and those are the photos that will mean something to someone. And literally otherwise, what’s the point?
And so what happens when you don’t know someone, for example when you are asked to do a shoot that already has a model booked?
Well obviously if something is already all booked I won’t go, “oh sorry no, I can’t do it…” but then go out and make a point to know them! Even when I don’t know the person before, I try to have as much time with them before the actual shoot as possible, to just hang out, get some coffee and talk for a while, and get to know them a little bit. They might have something so phenomenal about themselves that I wouldn’t know otherwise and that’s what I should be photographing. I already have the will to photograph someone, but then I want to find out what they have that’s worth capturing forever. 
When you shoot, would you say you are an observer or do you still take part and participate of the action? Does it differ depending on what you are shooting?
That’s a very good question, there’s two ways you can go about it… but in my case I think that no matter what I’m shooting, even if it’s an editorial, which can be more staged sometimes, I feel like for sure there’s a feeling like you very well are there. It seems like you are a part of it, when you look at the photos it almost feels like you are looking as a viewer at the party. And to answer directly to your question, that’s because I’m not at all, in any way or form, a fly on the wall. It’s always very interactive, almost aggressively interactive.
For instance, I was supposed to do a job the other day where they wanted me to capture this girl preparing to go out, and I told them that if they really wanted me to do that and they wanted it to have my feeling, I would need to go early and we should put on make up together, and both take pictures of each other. That’s because she needs to feel like we are both on the same level, and then it starts to get fun, and then the pictures become fun. I also photograph going out a lot for example, because I just do that a lot. And it’s because we are all evenly drunk or evenly playing around that the next thing you know we are creating these wild scenarios... and most of the time I’m actually just really 100% in the moment with the people and then I’m like, “oh we should get a camera out.” And it’s important to me to try and always keep that mentality, even if it’s not naturally happening. To make yourself put the camera down and just hang out, and then once you forget about where you are, and your own self-conscious perspective, about trying to capture something and framing and all that... and just have a beer with some mates and see what happens. Literally 80% of the time I never even pull the camera out of my pocket. It’s really just having a great time with mates. And then sometimes, I’ll blow through 10 rolls in ten minutes.
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