JONATHAN CHERRY: What did you want to be growing up?
ZACHARY SNELLENBERGER: I’ve wanted to be a teacher since elementary school, and that still stands. I’ve got a lot of life to live before I take the time to make that happen though.
JC: Who or what is inspiring you right now?
ZS: The cold months here in Michigan bring out a lot of creativity in me. On days where the weather is, I read or play a new album. Music inspires me more than anything, Radiohead’s Amnesiac and King of Limbs albums go well with the weather.
Lizzy Gadd's photos make me want to live in Canada, she's a goddess with the camera. Alison Scarpulla has been catching my eye lately as well, the two of them inspire to create everyday.
JC: What are you up to right now?
ZS: I am printing/framing pieces to sell to support my travels around the US and Canada this upcoming summer, you can buy a print/piece by contacting me by email here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also I’m currently shooting ads and the Spring/Summer 2014 lookbook for Imperial Motion which will be finished by the end of January. I’ve also been spending a majority of my days exploring the icebergs of frozen Lake Michigan and shooting 35mm film to put together a series at winter’s end.
JC: Have you had mentors along the way?
ZS: Not with photography necessarily, but creatively and mentally yes.
My assistant soccer coach in high school taught me to have a “Positive Mental Attitude.” We’d talk everyday. I was very negative, and he brought out a new person in me. He encouraged me to take art classes to get me thinking creatively, which eventually led to taking photos by the end of my senior year. The past three years would’ve been much different if it weren’t for his support and encouragement. Thanks Coach K.
JC: Where are you based right now and how is it shaping you?
ZS: I’ve lived in Mid-West Michigan for my entire life. Living within ten minutes of Lake Michigan has had a tremendous impact on who I am, and what I photograph. With the dunes, woods, and water… We have a lot of nature to explore. Even after traveling around the country this past summer, I still see home as one of my favorite places. I don’t think I could ever live in a city, the outdoors is the root of my creativity and inspiration.
JC: If all else fails - what is your plan B?
ZS: Eventually, I want to go to school to become a teacher/professor. Right now I’m just going with it and moving forward, I haven’t thought of whether the outcome will be a failure or success. I’m having fun, I’m happy, and I’ve met my closest friends through photography, which is success in itself… I want to experience living, before life passes me by; Photography is allowing me to do so.
JC: Is it important to you to be a part of a creative community?
ZS: Definitely, the people I surround myself with are the reason I create.
Becoming more involved in the creative community over the past year has allowed me to meet the artists/photographers that inspired me to take pictures in the first place. I think it’s an ongoing pattern, maybe someday people will look to me for inspiration, the way I looked up to others.