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Meet Neta Zuk

Today we’d like to introduce you to Neta Zuk.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Neta. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I became interested in photography purely by chance. The summer before 9th grade I received a camera after striking a deal with my father; I asked for a digital camera in exchange for getting straight A’s through 8th grade. I started by bringing it everywhere with me, photographing everything I could. What started as a hobby quickly blossomed into a passion. After photographing my friends, I decided people were my favorite thing to photograph and I became heavily interested in fashion and modeling.

I became a person consumed by my passion. In the summer of 10th grade, I applied for an advanced photography intensive in New York City and that was where I fell in love with the studio. During the entire three weeks, we had the opportunity to pitch our own independent project to our teachers and focus on making one body of work. One of the other people in our program ended up being a close friend and she (Olivia) agreed to model in my work. Throughout the course of the first week, I shot every single day using studio lights and seamless for the first time. She helped me with styling and makeup as well as teaching me how to direct models. I discovered how much I loved having control over the lighting and its effect on the mood.

The passion from that photo shoot simply propelled me from there. I did another intensive the following year and decided that photography would be the only thing I ever wanted to do in my life. During my first three years in high school, I was very involved in photography through my school. I was the photographer for the sports teams, the theatre productions, the cheerleaders and the yearbook. I was also the president of the photography club for two years and taught students camera techniques as well as studio work. I helped write a photography program to be taught at my high school which included budgeting and curriculum. The class currently runs 4 times a day with over 50 students. I had realized I wanted to go to college to study photography as nearly everything I had learned had been self-taught (with exception of what I learned at the intensives) and I wanted a more formal education. I originally applied to Brooks Institute in Ventura, California and was accepted with their highest scholarship but they closed a week before classes were supposed to start. I had to switch gears and figure out my next move. I knew of SCAD because of previous interest in the college and applied for their Winter 2017 quarter at the Atlanta campus.

I’ve learned so much through some incredible teachers and had some unique opportunities to work with some wonderful people. I’ve worked with several of the modeling agencies here in town as well as some wonderful designers. I’m currently working on an extended project with a prop designer/sculptor while I am in Savannah. We are going to photograph their work at Tybee and Wormsloe plantation among other locations here. My work continues to grow and change as I’ve progressed through college and I love pushing myself to try new things or build upon the fundamentals. I’m on track to graduate SCAD in June this year and I’m excited for what the future holds.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think anything that is worth doing has an easy road. There have been many ups and downs in my life so far but I don’t allow them to stop me from pushing my boundaries and trying harder every chance I get. I’ve already mentioned that my college closed and I had to start over from there but that didn’t prevent me from finding a new avenue. There have been people who have told me that I’ll never make money, I’m wasting my time and that I should just quit. I’ve also faced sexism and have been overlooked plenty of times in the fact that I’m a small girl, many people think I can’t do what they can but I am always able to get it done.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Neta Zuk Studio – what should we know?
I am a freelance photographer, editor, and assistant. I also have experience being a digital-tech and shooting E-Commerce work as well as working on professional fashion photography sets. I love working together with a designer or model to bring their dreams to life. I do most of my work in the studio because I enjoy the control of lighting and background. I use mostly Canon’s camera and the Profoto lighting kits but I have knowledge of multiple cameras and lighting systems. I think what sets me apart is my approach to lighting the subject. Lighting has always been my favorite part of photography and constantly learning new techniques allows me to bring new looks to my work regularly. I think as an assistant I stand out because I’m quick and eager to learn and always do what needs to be done no matter the task.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are a few people who contributed to my journey thus far and I couldn’t have gotten to the point I’m at without them. I think my photography professor at SCAD; Forest McMullin has been integral in my growth as a photographer thus far. Forest has a very technical eye when working on set and he makes sure everything is done exactly correctly. He pushes me to be more critical of my own work and to constantly practice the technical skills to perfect my photos. I think knowing he’ll be critiquing my work has been what has made me pay more attention to the fine details of each image as I know he’ll look critically at everything. His direction has guided me to grow in ways I couldn’t without his help.

The other person who has always had my back throughout this process has been my father. He has always supported me from the beginning and serves as a constant pillar of strength and motivation. Watching him become successful pushes me to work harder. He has always told us to be a little bit better today than you were yesterday and that is something I think about on a regular basis. I always try to give everything I do 110% because I know that the minimum he would expect from me.

There are plenty of other people who have helped me in their own way on my journey. They know who they are and how much I appreciate everything they’ve done for me. I could never do this on my own and knowing I have people who support me makes me want to be just that much better.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Amos Jackson

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