The Zombie Car Slayer
The Zombie Car Slayer by David G
Allow me introduce you to the brilliant individual and photographer that is Jessica Zollman (@JayZombie). She has a keen eye for classic vehicles and knows how to turn the classic car into a classic shot. She will be submitting work to what is the autography show in Seattle starting the 23rd of June (Which anyone should go to if you have the chance) so we decided to catch up with her and learn more about herself and her work.
D: David J: Jessica
D: Hello Jessica, thanks for joining us today.
J: No problem it’s a pleasure!
D: So to start off, how would you describe yourself in one phrase?
J: “I am the combined effort of everybody I’ve ever known.” – Chick Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters
That phrase has always struck a cord with me and whenever I’m asked to describe myself it’s always the first thing that comes to mind. I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without the influence of the incredible people around me.
D: That’s great that you give credit where credit is deserved. Next question, Were you into photography at a young age as well or did it come to you later in life?
J: I’ve always loved taking photographs. I wouldn’t say that I was into photography, but as a child I’d always have a disposable camera or polaroid by my side during trips or special events. It wasn’t until post-college, after receiving my first DSLR as a graduation gift, that I started taking photography more seriously.
D: Well thank goodness you got that DSLR then. Next, How did you get started with instagram and why?
J: I found out about Instagram through my friend Cole Rise (@colerise). I saw him sharing photos before the application was
The exemplary Zombie Car shot that Jessica does so well
available and it sparked something in me. Every time he posted a photo I wanted in on the service more and more. I eventually asked him to recommend me for beta testing and two days before the application officially launched I received an email from Kevin welcoming me to the service. I was elated. There was something about a simple application & network dedicated to photography where I could share my images not just there but also easily to Twitter and Facebook that just felt right. It was solving my dissatisfaction with other photo network alternatives and, incredibly, it ended up hosting one of the most amazing communities I’ve ever been a part of.
D: Wow, you’re the first person I’ve met that has been on this service since day 1. For my next question I was wondering, Many times as a photographer it is difficult to get exposure, how did you accomplish this and what tips would you give other photographers on getting your shots “out there”
J: I never intentionally sought exposure, but I have been relentless about photographing everything. I’m always splitting my attention between what’s going on right in front of me and the next potential shot. I think that drive to always improve my photography by continually taking photos combined with sharing only those I think are the best / the most honest, and then engaging with those interested in my work has helped quite a bit.
D: Great tips, I’m surely going to use some of these in the future. Lets get to the autography show, would you be so kind as to describe the work that you’ll be presenting there.
A proper Zombie Car shot
J: Sure! I’m the girl who took auto-shop in High School. In fact, I was the only girl in my class! I’ve always been fascinated with cars, but I quickly realized that I likely wouldn’t go on to be be the best mechanic in the world, though I couldn’t stop fawning over those classic cars’ giant grills and their long metal bodies. I started a series of photographs, tagged #zombiecar, in order to document the fascinating classic beauties hidden around San Francisco and I’ve chosen some of my favorites to be featured in the Autography show.
D: Ha! I love that you didn’t give up on your love for cars and instead diffused it through other ways, in this case photography. Next question is, if there any interesting stories when it comes to the behind the scenes of the shot?
J: I intentionally crouch down real low to the ground when I’m shooting a #zombiecar photograph in order to create a perspective that makes the cars look much bigger. Whenever I’m crouching down I’m also waiting for cars to pass by so I don’t get them in the shot. As you can imagine, in a city like SF where people are always walking by, I often look a bit insane. Or like I’m trying to case the join for an epic car heist.
Mikey perfectly captured what an in-action #zombiecar pose looks like here and you can see some of the typical looks I get, captured here.
D: I love it. I jump all the time so I know how you feel but whatever it takes to get the shot eh? Okay almost done but next question is, What is your inspiration when it comes to photography or better yet, what motivates you?
J: I draw inspiration from how well(over)-documented my entire childhood was. My parents and grandparents took hundreds of photos our family growing up and they had dozens of photo albums tucked away in my childhood house. Shortly after that there was a period where there weren’t really any photographs taken because my mom was traveling for work and I never picked up a camera to document. Looking back, it felt like those moments were lost or like they never actually occurred since there’s no photographic evidence of them happening.
I get an overwhelming feeling of loss when I come across that gap in time while browsing through photos of myself growing up that has driven me to photography. I’ve developed this need for documentation that motivates me to take photos even if I’m not in a mood to.
Awesome capture of a Zombie Car
D: Interesting take on documentation through photography, love it. Last but not least is, What is the ultimate goal of your photography? Is there any message that you’d like to eventually transcend to people that view your work?
J: I find myself asking this same question about my work more and more lately, and I’m definetly still struggling to answer that question. As I grow as a photographer (and as a person) I hope to eventually have a clear vision or direction to my work but, for now, I’m focusing on documenting and sharing my life and the things around me as honestly as possible.
D: Well good luck with all your future endeavors and thank you for the awesome interview.
J: Thank you, it was a pleasure.
Juxt thanks you for your art and your words.
ALSO if you are in SEATTLE check out Jessica’s photographs at the Autography Show at Diva Espresso. More details here.