First off, we would like to congratulate Kevin on being crowned winner of this year’s Pro Photographer Showdown, part of the annual Telus Festival in Whistler. Said showdown brings together five action-sports photographers, all at the top of the game. To showcase the best work in their portfolio for a panel of judges and a crowd of spectators upwards of 2,000.
The other presenting photographers chosen to participate this year were adventure photographer Corey Rich, surf photographer Jeremy Koreski, winner of the 2001 Pro Photographer Showdown Blake Jorgenson, and lastly TransWorld SKATEboarding Senior Photographer Scott Pommier.
Zacher grew up riding Arizona—as evidenced by last February’s cover shot of Wyatt Caldwell at Snowbowl. He holds a degree in photojournalism from Northern Arizona University, he is a senior photographer for the number-one snowboarding magazine in the world, and has been working for us since the ’98/99 season. He is now running a legit photo studio in Santa Monica with help from his photo assistant Shanna Alexander and is represented by the photo agency Anderson Hopkins.
Is this your first time competing at the Telus Shootout?
No, I competed in 2002 and lost.
What’s the significance of winning to you?
It’s really about the night itself. It’s funny, my dad and brother who came with me said “Hey, this will be great for your career, great to put on your resume. I said, “I don’t have a resume. I just have my pictures.
It’s so wonderful to be able to share them in the slideshow format with the 2,000 people in attendance. That’s it. It’s a great evening amongst the audience, the other photographers, and the esteemed judges.
What other competitions/awards have you won in photography?
Very few. Something for I.D. and HOW magazines. I don’t enter too many competitions.
What do you think about photography as a competition?
I think it is fine. I’m pretty competitive about my work. It’s always nice to win something. But there’s nothing wrong with just presenting work from a group of artists and calling that an evening as well.
Was there anything particular that drew you into photography?
Lots of things. Ever since I can remember, I aspired to do something with my hands—to create something. First I was going to be a carpenter, then a graphic designer. My dad always had cameras, and it just came naturally to me to photograph my friends skateboarding and then snowboarding. I just see things graphically and love visuals.
When did it become a realistic career option?
It was tough, and there was a huge gray area for me. I think everyone goes through that. Photography is hard as hell to make a living at. I think when my pictures started to run in TransWorld, I realized I could do it and the industry responded pretty well.
Do you remember the first time you got paid for a photo?
Yes. It was, I think 50 dollars and some product from an old skateboard brand called 90 that Kevin Staub owned.
How long have you been shooting snowboarding?
I suppose since 1994. But I didn’t make anything of it until 1997.
What came first, the snowboard or the camera?
First the skateboard, then the camera, then the snowboard.
What other projects outside of snowboarding have you been involved in lately?
I’ve been spending a lot of time as an advertising photographer, shooting for clients like Hummer, AMEX, Playstation, Coke, Qwest, Honda, and a variety of non-snowboaridng magazines. It’s a great mix. I love being able to shoot snow still, but my future is in advertising. I get the best of both worlds. Snowboarding photography involves way less stress than advertising, but advertising is a great challenge.
It seems as though you were venturing outside of snowboarding more, but this year you have been getting back into it, is that thhe case?
I spent a lot of time snowboarding this year, sorta made the commitment to do that. But it was a lot of time away from relationships and my other work. Next year will have to be toned down a bit, I think. It’s just too much year after year.
Was the ten-percent rule in effect with the winning funds from Telus?