PetaPixel

A Powerful, Encouraging, and Inspiring Message to All Photographers

Transform is a short film by photographer Zack Arias that offers encouragement to photographers who are going through a slump and hard times. It’s an incredibly powerful piece that everyone interested in photography — pros and enthusiasts alike — should see at least once, though you might find yourself coming back to it again and again in the future.

(via Orms Connect)


 
  • Travis

    This happens to me at least 3 times a year….  Why do we care so much?  Truly?

  • David

    Zach…this was moving, inspiring, sort of depressing and at the same time a revelation. I love people that make me think…hard. Thank you!

  • Jamie Hines

    Zack….I’m just sitting here staring at my screen. The moving subjects that you just talked about really did hit home. Your words simple but powerful. After giving up a major sports contract earlier this year (a personal decision for my wife and family) that now has my head spinning about which direction my photography needs to go or back into!

    I thank you for the segment on your father and the words that were expressed in that segment….so very true! But the reminders about family, our children, and paying our bills with our “camera” how we forget that part. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this video!!

  • Libertad Leal

    Zach, I don’t quite know how to express how inspiring and life changing this video is. I have been in a total photographic funk all summer and this is exactly what my soul needed. It made me think long and hard, it gave me a kick in the pants and it made me hopeful like nothing else. It’s brilliant, perfect and amazing and I thank you so very much.

    http://www.libertadleal.carbonmade.com

  • Libertad Leal

    Yeah, that should have been Zack. Sheesh. I am a dork. Sorry about that! 

  • Eworctap

    Thank you for everything expressed in this piece. It touched me and shed light on a lot of the issues we face as photographers, but don’t always know how to say to others. You said it all and inspired me to keep going in a dark period. Thanks for shining the light.

  • Ns7

    Hope this reminds you to say what you have to say to your loved ones while you still have a chance.
    Things have a way of suddenly changing without you being notified in advance.
    Then it is too late.

    Now Is Now

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.siebert Kimberly Siebert

    Super-Turbo RANT and RAVE… Yeah, this is a LONG one… Being in a funk doesn’t even describe my depths of depression when I cant physically go out and shoot. Photography is the only thing (next to my husband) that puts a semi smile on my face. Photography is the only thing that I can ‘do’ and do semi well. I am terrible with flash and pocket wizards and anything to do with lighting. I can’t get it. I never can get it. I have read countless books, been to countless websites, talked to countless arrogant and narcissistic ‘professional’ a$$hats who were so rude and obnoxious to just try and remotely understand how to work my 1500$ in Canon Speedlights – and I havent grasped any of it. I think I have a learning disability because it truly goes in one ear and out the other. I can’t remember ANYTHING dealing with flash operation – and I don’t know why… It is incredibly frustrating, more like infuriating to the point where I want to be a total loser and give up. Even though my natural lighting photos are pretty good. It’s the idea sitting deep in my head that makes me want to throw in the towel when I know I can’t go to my flash to make my pictures more interesting or more profound – whatever, or simply just more beautiful. It sounds RIDICULOUS but it is borderline debilitating if i start to think about it. Not to mention the 1500$ spent on the flashes themselves and the 400$ spent on pocket wizards that blew up my flash the first time I used them…. (Pocket Wizard sent a replacement flash because it happened when I was on the phone with them… Long story but Pocket Wizard made it right…) With that money, I could have purchased a KILLER lens or a couple of killer lenses even though I have plenty of killer lenses already.. I just want to ‘get it’… Then, every once in a while I get hit with a dose of reality and try and focus on the fact that I am 100% self taught, I have THOUSANDS of dollars in gear – I have a great computer, all the software a girl (or guy) could want, and I didn’t  have to put in one dime of the household money to pay for any of it.. it has all been bought and paid for in cash by editing for other photographers, or by selling my images to private parties and doing pet shoots. (because shooting people is not an option for me as I am petrified and cant direct a shoot to save my life – and weddings? FORGET ABOUT IT. too much drama…) So, how lucky am I to have all this stuff that makes me able to take great photos? Every dime I have made over the past 3 years has given me over 8K in gear and another 3K in software? * also due to the fact that I did alot of trading gear with photographers too* (and yes, I am aware that even though these things don’t MAKE you a good photographer, they are an an aid in getting you there because with shitty lenses and a shitty camera gets you shitty pictures) If it weren’t for my skills that I have taught myself I wouldn’t have had ANY of the $ to purchase my tools for the trade – and why can’t I be grateful for that???? I sit and complain internally to my ridiculous flash ineptness until I get borderline physically ill over it, simply due to the sheer magnitude of frustration that it brings – this handicaps my ability to engage that shutter click.  We are our own worst enemies when we get to that point. It keeps us from growing, it keeps us from creating, and it keeps us from paying our bills.. I am blessed in that I don’t ‘have’ to use my photography for bill paying, my husband works and supports the family, (again, I KNOW how lucky I am) my photography sales are just for me – in that all the money I make I have the option to put it right back into gear or software. Again, how LUCKY is that? I know I am one of the few who have it so good. I just wished that I could put that positive spin on it when I get in a funk and literally unable to leave the house to go do what I love the very most. For example, right now, as of today, I havent gone to shoot for over 4 months. I just havent had it in me. I felt used and taken advantage of during the last non-profit shoot I did. I have done several fundraisers and donated my services and every time I feel used and taken advantage of. People are ungrateful, demanding, unreasonable and complain because the want MORE for FREE. I’ve given away over 4K worth of time and prints and edited work and dvds with unlimited rights. And these people just want more, and don’t appreciate what you have already done for them and given to them. Well, I just wont do it anymore. I will continue to shoot for myself, sell what I can to whoever wants to buy my images. I will try to remember and keep in my heart what Zach (really one of my all time fave photogs, right up there with Avedon :), both very different, but both evoke the same feelings of amazement when viewing his images. My point is that he hit so many nails on the head with this one.  I need to get out of my head more and just go out and shoot because it makes me happy – and I need to call my dad to see how hes doing today. Now, where did I put my battery charger…

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.siebert Kimberly Siebert

    Super-Turbo RANT and RAVE… Yeah, this is a LONG one… Being in a funk doesn’t even describe my depths of depression when I cant physically go out and shoot. Photography is the only thing (next to my husband) that puts a semi smile on my face. Photography is the only thing that I can ‘do’ and do semi well. I am terrible with flash and pocket wizards and anything to do with lighting. I can’t get it. I never can get it. I have read countless books, been to countless websites, talked to countless arrogant and narcissistic ‘professional’ a$$hats who were so rude and obnoxious to just try and remotely understand how to work my 1500$ in Canon Speedlights – and I havent grasped any of it. I think I have a learning disability because it truly goes in one ear and out the other. I can’t remember ANYTHING dealing with flash operation – and I don’t know why… It is incredibly frustrating, more like infuriating to the point where I want to be a total loser and give up. Even though my natural lighting photos are pretty good. It’s the idea sitting deep in my head that makes me want to throw in the towel when I know I can’t go to my flash to make my pictures more interesting or more profound – whatever, or simply just more beautiful. It sounds RIDICULOUS but it is borderline debilitating if i start to think about it. Not to mention the 1500$ spent on the flashes themselves and the 400$ spent on pocket wizards that blew up my flash the first time I used them…. (Pocket Wizard sent a replacement flash because it happened when I was on the phone with them… Long story but Pocket Wizard made it right…) With that money, I could have purchased a KILLER lens or a couple of killer lenses even though I have plenty of killer lenses already.. I just want to ‘get it’… Then, every once in a while I get hit with a dose of reality and try and focus on the fact that I am 100% self taught, I have THOUSANDS of dollars in gear – I have a great computer, all the software a girl (or guy) could want, and I didn’t  have to put in one dime of the household money to pay for any of it.. it has all been bought and paid for in cash by editing for other photographers, or by selling my images to private parties and doing pet shoots. (because shooting people is not an option for me as I am petrified and cant direct a shoot to save my life – and weddings? FORGET ABOUT IT. too much drama…) So, how lucky am I to have all this stuff that makes me able to take great photos? Every dime I have made over the past 3 years has given me over 8K in gear and another 3K in software? * also due to the fact that I did alot of trading gear with photographers too* (and yes, I am aware that even though these things don’t MAKE you a good photographer, they are an an aid in getting you there because with shitty lenses and a shitty camera gets you shitty pictures) If it weren’t for my skills that I have taught myself I wouldn’t have had ANY of the $ to purchase my tools for the trade – and why can’t I be grateful for that???? I sit and complain internally to my ridiculous flash ineptness until I get borderline physically ill over it, simply due to the sheer magnitude of frustration that it brings – this handicaps my ability to engage that shutter click.  We are our own worst enemies when we get to that point. It keeps us from growing, it keeps us from creating, and it keeps us from paying our bills.. I am blessed in that I don’t ‘have’ to use my photography for bill paying, my husband works and supports the family, (again, I KNOW how lucky I am) my photography sales are just for me – in that all the money I make I have the option to put it right back into gear or software. Again, how LUCKY is that? I know I am one of the few who have it so good. I just wished that I could put that positive spin on it when I get in a funk and literally unable to leave the house to go do what I love the very most. For example, right now, as of today, I havent gone to shoot for over 4 months. I just havent had it in me. I felt used and taken advantage of during the last non-profit shoot I did. I have done several fundraisers and donated my services and every time I feel used and taken advantage of. People are ungrateful, demanding, unreasonable and complain because the want MORE for FREE. I’ve given away over 4K worth of time and prints and edited work and dvds with unlimited rights. And these people just want more, and don’t appreciate what you have already done for them and given to them. Well, I just wont do it anymore. I will continue to shoot for myself, sell what I can to whoever wants to buy my images. I will try to remember and keep in my heart what Zach (really one of my all time fave photogs, right up there with Avedon :), both very different, but both evoke the same feelings of amazement when viewing his images. My point is that he hit so many nails on the head with this one.  I need to get out of my head more and just go out and shoot because it makes me happy – and I need to call my dad to see how hes doing today. Now, where did I put my battery charger…

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.siebert Kimberly Siebert

    Super-Turbo RANT and RAVE… Yeah, this is a LONG one… Being in a funk doesn’t even describe my depths of depression when I cant physically go out and shoot. Photography is the only thing (next to my husband) that puts a semi smile on my face. Photography is the only thing that I can ‘do’ and do semi well. I am terrible with flash and pocket wizards and anything to do with lighting. I can’t get it. I never can get it. I have read countless books, been to countless websites, talked to countless arrogant and narcissistic ‘professional’ a$$hats who were so rude and obnoxious to just try and remotely understand how to work my 1500$ in Canon Speedlights – and I havent grasped any of it. I think I have a learning disability because it truly goes in one ear and out the other. I can’t remember ANYTHING dealing with flash operation – and I don’t know why… It is incredibly frustrating, more like infuriating to the point where I want to be a total loser and give up. Even though my natural lighting photos are pretty good. It’s the idea sitting deep in my head that makes me want to throw in the towel when I know I can’t go to my flash to make my pictures more interesting or more profound – whatever, or simply just more beautiful. It sounds RIDICULOUS but it is borderline debilitating if i start to think about it. Not to mention the 1500$ spent on the flashes themselves and the 400$ spent on pocket wizards that blew up my flash the first time I used them…. (Pocket Wizard sent a replacement flash because it happened when I was on the phone with them… Long story but Pocket Wizard made it right…) With that money, I could have purchased a KILLER lens or a couple of killer lenses even though I have plenty of killer lenses already.. I just want to ‘get it’… Then, every once in a while I get hit with a dose of reality and try and focus on the fact that I am 100% self taught, I have THOUSANDS of dollars in gear – I have a great computer, all the software a girl (or guy) could want, and I didn’t  have to put in one dime of the household money to pay for any of it.. it has all been bought and paid for in cash by editing for other photographers, or by selling my images to private parties and doing pet shoots. (because shooting people is not an option for me as I am petrified and cant direct a shoot to save my life – and weddings? FORGET ABOUT IT. too much drama…) So, how lucky am I to have all this stuff that makes me able to take great photos? Every dime I have made over the past 3 years has given me over 8K in gear and another 3K in software? * also due to the fact that I did alot of trading gear with photographers too* (and yes, I am aware that even though these things don’t MAKE you a good photographer, they are an an aid in getting you there because with shitty lenses and a shitty camera gets you shitty pictures) If it weren’t for my skills that I have taught myself I wouldn’t have had ANY of the $ to purchase my tools for the trade – and why can’t I be grateful for that???? I sit and complain internally to my ridiculous flash ineptness until I get borderline physically ill over it, simply due to the sheer magnitude of frustration that it brings – this handicaps my ability to engage that shutter click.  We are our own worst enemies when we get to that point. It keeps us from growing, it keeps us from creating, and it keeps us from paying our bills.. I am blessed in that I don’t ‘have’ to use my photography for bill paying, my husband works and supports the family, (again, I KNOW how lucky I am) my photography sales are just for me – in that all the money I make I have the option to put it right back into gear or software. Again, how LUCKY is that? I know I am one of the few who have it so good. I just wished that I could put that positive spin on it when I get in a funk and literally unable to leave the house to go do what I love the very most. For example, right now, as of today, I havent gone to shoot for over 4 months. I just havent had it in me. I felt used and taken advantage of during the last non-profit shoot I did. I have done several fundraisers and donated my services and every time I feel used and taken advantage of. People are ungrateful, demanding, unreasonable and complain because the want MORE for FREE. I’ve given away over 4K worth of time and prints and edited work and dvds with unlimited rights. And these people just want more, and don’t appreciate what you have already done for them and given to them. Well, I just wont do it anymore. I will continue to shoot for myself, sell what I can to whoever wants to buy my images. I will try to remember and keep in my heart what Zach (really one of my all time fave photogs, right up there with Avedon :), both very different, but both evoke the same feelings of amazement when viewing his images. My point is that he hit so many nails on the head with this one.  I need to get out of my head more and just go out and shoot because it makes me happy – and I need to call my dad to see how hes doing today. Now, where did I put my battery charger…

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.siebert Kimberly Siebert

    Super-Turbo RANT and RAVE… Yeah, this is a LONG one… Being in a funk doesn’t even describe my depths of depression when I cant physically go out and shoot. Photography is the only thing (next to my husband) that puts a semi smile on my face. Photography is the only thing that I can ‘do’ and do semi well. I am terrible with flash and pocket wizards and anything to do with lighting. I can’t get it. I never can get it. I have read countless books, been to countless websites, talked to countless arrogant and narcissistic ‘professional’ a$$hats who were so rude and obnoxious to just try and remotely understand how to work my 1500$ in Canon Speedlights – and I havent grasped any of it. I think I have a learning disability because it truly goes in one ear and out the other. I can’t remember ANYTHING dealing with flash operation – and I don’t know why… It is incredibly frustrating, more like infuriating to the point where I want to be a total loser and give up. Even though my natural lighting photos are pretty good. It’s the idea sitting deep in my head that makes me want to throw in the towel when I know I can’t go to my flash to make my pictures more interesting or more profound – whatever, or simply just more beautiful. It sounds RIDICULOUS but it is borderline debilitating if i start to think about it. Not to mention the 1500$ spent on the flashes themselves and the 400$ spent on pocket wizards that blew up my flash the first time I used them…. (Pocket Wizard sent a replacement flash because it happened when I was on the phone with them… Long story but Pocket Wizard made it right…) With that money, I could have purchased a KILLER lens or a couple of killer lenses even though I have plenty of killer lenses already.. I just want to ‘get it’… Then, every once in a while I get hit with a dose of reality and try and focus on the fact that I am 100% self taught, I have THOUSANDS of dollars in gear – I have a great computer, all the software a girl (or guy) could want, and I didn’t  have to put in one dime of the household money to pay for any of it.. it has all been bought and paid for in cash by editing for other photographers, or by selling my images to private parties and doing pet shoots. (because shooting people is not an option for me as I am petrified and cant direct a shoot to save my life – and weddings? FORGET ABOUT IT. too much drama…) So, how lucky am I to have all this stuff that makes me able to take great photos? Every dime I have made over the past 3 years has given me over 8K in gear and another 3K in software? * also due to the fact that I did alot of trading gear with photographers too* (and yes, I am aware that even though these things don’t MAKE you a good photographer, they are an an aid in getting you there because with shitty lenses and a shitty camera gets you shitty pictures) If it weren’t for my skills that I have taught myself I wouldn’t have had ANY of the $ to purchase my tools for the trade – and why can’t I be grateful for that???? I sit and complain internally to my ridiculous flash ineptness until I get borderline physically ill over it, simply due to the sheer magnitude of frustration that it brings – this handicaps my ability to engage that shutter click.  We are our own worst enemies when we get to that point. It keeps us from growing, it keeps us from creating, and it keeps us from paying our bills.. I am blessed in that I don’t ‘have’ to use my photography for bill paying, my husband works and supports the family, (again, I KNOW how lucky I am) my photography sales are just for me – in that all the money I make I have the option to put it right back into gear or software. Again, how LUCKY is that? I know I am one of the few who have it so good. I just wished that I could put that positive spin on it when I get in a funk and literally unable to leave the house to go do what I love the very most. For example, right now, as of today, I havent gone to shoot for over 4 months. I just havent had it in me. I felt used and taken advantage of during the last non-profit shoot I did. I have done several fundraisers and donated my services and every time I feel used and taken advantage of. People are ungrateful, demanding, unreasonable and complain because the want MORE for FREE. I’ve given away over 4K worth of time and prints and edited work and dvds with unlimited rights. And these people just want more, and don’t appreciate what you have already done for them and given to them. Well, I just wont do it anymore. I will continue to shoot for myself, sell what I can to whoever wants to buy my images. I will try to remember and keep in my heart what Zach (really one of my all time fave photogs, right up there with Avedon :), both very different, but both evoke the same feelings of amazement when viewing his images. My point is that he hit so many nails on the head with this one.  I need to get out of my head more and just go out and shoot because it makes me happy – and I need to call my dad to see how hes doing today. Now, where did I put my battery charger…

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for that. As I watched through
    tearful eyes, it was like an autobiography of my life the past year …
    especially the part about watching my own father laying in the hospital,
    struggling to breathe before finally giving up … same age – same end
    result. I’ll mark this to watch again when I’m ready; and in the
    meantime, find my own new direction with my camera and my beautiful
    wife.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for that. As I watched through
    tearful eyes, it was like an autobiography of my life the past year …
    especially the part about watching my own father laying in the hospital,
    struggling to breathe before finally giving up … same age – same end
    result. I’ll mark this to watch again when I’m ready; and in the
    meantime, find my own new direction with my camera and my beautiful
    wife.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you so much for that. As I watched through
    tearful eyes, it was like an autobiography of my life the past year …
    especially the part about watching my own father laying in the hospital,
    struggling to breathe before finally giving up … same age – same end
    result. I’ll mark this to watch again when I’m ready; and in the
    meantime, find my own new direction with my camera and my beautiful
    wife.

  • Will Monson

    You have no idea how much hope this gives me. I don’t want to come off overly dramatic, but I am all too familiar with the masochistic effects of comparing myself with the talents of others. This film spoke to me. I need to apply this to all the aspects of my life, not just my photography and design. Thank you Zack, you have made a difference for at least one person.

  • Anonymous

    This is almost 3 years old. Remember when PetaPixel was about photography NEWS?

  • Nico van der Vorm

    @JohnONolan:disqus So what if it’s 3 years old? From the above responses it’s obvious not everyone has seen it. It is still a very inspirational short film.

  • Nico van der Vorm

    @JohnONolan:disqus So what if it’s 3 years old? From the above responses it’s obvious not everyone has seen it. It is still a very inspirational short film.