We had the good fortune of connecting with Zay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zay, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
There really wasn’t much thought to it actually. It’s been over a decade since I picked up a camera and it has always been my way to preserving my memories. I never dreamed about owning a photography business but it seamlessly ended up that way. Once I started connecting with people along my travels or adventures, and I started posting more and more on my social media about it, it sorted just took off. More and more people were asking if they could buy a print or even have me do a photoshoot with my style. Now thinking about it, it’s almost a year exactly from today that I opened and made my business legitimate. Crazy how life works I suppose.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It was a few years after my father had passed away when I decided to pick up a camera. At first I struggled with it because the only memories I wanted to capture were…well they were gone and it took a while for me to accept that. But eventually that drove me to focus on the present; I became infatuated with the ideas of capturing new memories and wherever I went, my camera went. I wasn’t really concerned in the beginning about figuring out my “style” or concept of photography, until it naturally molded into what most call today, “candid photography” or “street photography.” It’s been over a decade since I picked up a camera and for most of it, I never really shared my photography. I have this overwhelming quantity of pictures and folders ranging from 2009 but it wasn’t until the start of 2019 that I put myself out there as a “photographer.” I wasn’t confident at all when I decided to open up social media pages but friends, family, and strangers quickly became drawn to them. With each picture I was posting, a poem or a story of what was going through my mind went along with them. Obliviously I had created this online journal and people seemed to love it, to point where some began asking to buy my pictures as prints. I can’t remember how I initially felt about it, but I’m sure it’s exactly how I feel now when someone buys a print from my store. I don’t pry myself on being better than others, nor do I compare myself to anyone. I simply enjoy the process of going out, taking pictures and maybe meeting new individuals along my way. I suppose what sets me apart is how realistic my images are and the stories behind them. They tend to invoke a feeling into who sees my pictures and those who read the message about them. The biggest lesson I want to voice is to always be yourself. As cliche as that may sound, it’s quite easy to lose yourself in the business aspect of it all. Just remember why you started and root yourself into that.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So I’ve only been in Colorado since March or so and that was pretty much the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns. I’ve spent most of my time working full-time at FedEx Office (Store Level Manager) so I hardly know the area. My idea of fun is just exploring the city by walking around aimlessly or doing some easy-leveled trail in the mountains. I’ve done the pike-to-pike highway drive several times so perhaps that would be one of the things we could check out.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be able to specifically choose just one individual in my life. My success up to now has to be given to all my friends, family and even strangers that I have encountered. Their words of encouragement and support have literally kept this dream alive.
Jose (Zay) Balmaceda