Today we’d like to introduce you to Debra Zumstein.
Hi Debra, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
As a creative professional, I have over 20 years of experience working in museums, exhibition design, community arts programming, and as a fine art artist.
My range of experience has included developing and presenting art programs and events, promoting artists, teaching art classes to underprivileged youth, designing and installing gallery exhibitions, developing and presenting art programs and events, and managing multiple programs within budget and under strict time constraints.
With all of these organizations, I have used my photography skills in the documentation of events, the creation of advertising and publicity, and the development of marketing tools.
Over the last 10 years, I have created photographic images in a variety of professional formats. My clients include Fortune 500 companies, literary publishers, art museums, private collectors, broadcast studios, and fine art artists. I have produced hundreds of HDR images for commercial and residential real estate.
My food imagery, for a regional cookbook, was published by Gibbs Smith. My nature panoramic fine art images are in collections in Switzerland, England, France, and across the United States.
Having a 1000 sq. ft. studio allows me to offer clients a controlled environment complete with studio lighting and a variety of backdrops. My equipment includes Canon 5D cameras, professional lenses, and more. I am always available for on-location shoots.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Developing my own individual style within such a wide medium has taken time and persistence. Creating a body of work for a client is like putting together a puzzle.
There are many options to consider whether it is the lighting, camera lens, f-stop, or shooting angle. I have learned to accept each job as a journey of discovery.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Nature has always fascinated me. Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, I spent my youth playing in the woods, camping, hiking, and biking in the stunning landscapes of the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
I took up photography when I was in high school and filled photo books with nature and travel photos. In my twenties, my camera bag was always ready for a day trip or an overseas adventure. The images that I loved from those trips were the landscapes that told a story of the location, the community, and the country.
After years of conforming my photography to 8×10 and 11×14 images, I moved outside of the standard frames. My experiments led me to piece together multiple overlapping images creating photographs reaching up to 8 feet in length. These seamless panoramic images of landscapes from across the world were printed on canvas, giving life-sized views, and a painted texture on a durable medium.
After moving to the Low Country in 2007, I began creating a garden oasis. It currently is home to fruit, citrus, and olive trees, perennial flowers, seasonal vegetables as well a flock of chickens, and occasionally a box of bees.
Not long after getting my first box of bees, I was introduced to wax encaustics as an art medium. My leftover beeswax is mixed with a stabilizing resin creating a perfect medium to use as paint. My photographic images are printed on rice paper and then encased in wax. The dreamy floating images are preserved for years to come.
Expanding my love of the natural world, I am currently working on a botanical photo collection using close-up photography. These studio-photographed images include orchids, tillandsia, succulents, seasonal flowers, and exotic houseplants.
They are being developed into a product line of artwork, printed textiles, and stationery.
If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
As a child, I was an avid reader with a curiosity for the world.
Finding photography when I was in high school opened the doors of creativity and travel that have become a lifelong obsession. My camera and I have visited five continents, 18 countries, 3 provinces, 2 territories, and 42 states.
Along the way, my creative style has expanded along with my appreciation for the differences that make us all unique.
Debra Zumstein and Wil Kazary