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Jeff Zaruba: Black and White Exploration Teacher
Feb 7th 2013 Posted in: Featured Posts, Photographers, Workshops 0
Learn more about one of our amazing teachers!

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Jeff Zaruba likes to get into the “why” behind his students’ interest in photography and help them to understand their vision and curiosity.

Teaching comes naturally to Jeff Zaruba and he finds working with his students incredibly rewarding as he helps them gain the confidence they need to reach the next level of their artistic potential. In his commercial photography business, he has worked closely with each of his assistants, well over a dozen in 30 years, teaching them each the skill, art, and business of photography until they are ready to go off and start their own careers.

Jeff earned his Fine Arts & Photography degree from Arizona State University in 1975. He enrolled with an interest in architecture yet found his home in the photography department. He realized his love of architecture could be fulfilled as a photographer, and he could explore a whole new way of expressing his creativity. From the beginning, black and white photography has been his passion:

“I was heavily influenced by a number of B&W photographers when I first started studying photography. Edward Weston and Paul Strand were two that I was immediately drawn to. Their ability to see everyday objects and scenes and turn them into strong works of art that still hold up today amazes me,” said Jeff.

“I love B&W photography for several reasons. First, it is an abstraction of reality. Taking a colorful world and translating it into a series of black, white, gray, and silver tones is a process that really suits my visual aesthetic. I find that it forces me to look at light in a deeper way, and seeing in B&W often simplifies a scene. Like many photographers, t all started when I saw my first silver print emerge in the developing tray. That magic hooked me. Watching a beautifully crafted image come off a digital printer gives me a similar feeling today.”

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Jeff started his photography career in the days of wet film developing and making prints in a darkroom. He has transitioned to working exclusively with digital, and has the same success, if not more, with it.

“Having learned photography by developing and analyzing B&W negatives, I learned what could be drawn out of negatives in the final print. The histogram is the modern day equivalent of a negative, and a full understanding of the information in a histogram is an essential start for making great images. Then, like the negative, the raw captured file becomes a starting point for further work done in camera raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop to really create the final image. The capture is the craft; the digital darkroom work and print are the art,” said Jeff.

“Because Photoshop is such an incredibly deep program, I believe that you can really create an individual style and look, much like you could in a conventional darkroom. It is this exploration that makes digital photography great.”

Jeff has been lucky enough to make a career out of his photography. His fine art work is shown in various galleries around the country, including Boston, Aspen, LA, and Phoenix. His lifestyle commercial work is in high demand in the tourism industry.

When he isn’t shooting for clients or teaching, you can find Jeff heading out to the national parks or planning his next trip to a far away place. He is continually exploring his vision and creativity and eager to make that next photograph.

Jeff is a regular workshop instructor at The Image Flow. He is will teach Digital Black & White Photography this fall and will join Stuart Schwartz to teach Explore Photography in Umbria, Italy, this summer. See more of Jeff’s work on his website. 

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