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Zach grew up on the north shore of Maui, Hawaii where he developed a deep respect for the ‘aina (land) and the preservation of endangered native ecosystems. He began taking photographs at the age of 12 and his photos have been included in books, magazines, and juried exhibitions. He is now a senior and his major is Photographic Sciences. He is interested in using his skills in nature and scientific photography to encourage an awareness of the importance of conservation and the critical role it plays in our lives.

Q: What was your most challenging assignment as a photography student?
A: I would have to say that my most challenging assignment as a photo student has been field studio photography. I was intrigued by the concept of creating an actual studio in the field that would allow me to photograph a living insect or plant in such a unique way. The technique itself wasn’t too difficult to grasp, once you have the right equipment. However, the application of it has proven to be the challenge. My “office” this past summer was a tiny clearing set up under a tarp strung between trees deep in the heart of the Waikamoi Preserve, a remote and normally inaccessible area on the island of Maui. I was privileged to work with The Nature Conservancy in order to photograph native species, many of which are endangered. Packing in my gear and setting up a sheltered spot in this very wet, jungle-like environment was difficult but the real challenge came in finding and convincing subjects to pose for the camera. Photographing an uncooperative and truculent native Hawaiian Tetragnatha spider at 3am while huddled under a tarp during a rainstorm was perhaps the most challenging yet most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

Q: What do you love about the school?
A: There are many things to love about RIT. What comes to mind first is that the professors here are very invested in the success of their students. The amount of support and encouragement I’ve received has been really great. Also, the technical knowledge I’ve gained and the ability to use really state of the art equipment has given me a tremendous base of knowledge that has well prepared me for success after graduation. Lastly, one of the best things about RIT is the sense of camaraderie that exists here among students. My life has definitely been enriched by my friendships not only with other photo science students but also with students from many other majors.

You can find more of Zach’s work at:
http://www.zachpezzillo.com

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