The team at ONA loves to highlight emerging photographers and feature established photographers: it’s less about renown or experience and more about the feelings stirred by the images created. We’re constantly amazed by the incredible variety of photographers who use ONA bags: there’s no standard background, education, subject, inspiration, industry. The only constant is that they’re trying–and usually succeeeding–to tell a story in one captured moment.
Zach wears the Camps Bay in Smoke
Zach Glassman’s passion for storytelling is matched only by his love of travel; when he’s able to combine the two, his talents shine. He’s an incredibly talented travel photographer with a knack for capturing the personality of a place through its people. As the founder of Passion Passport, Zach thrives on sharing the transformative power of travel: through his words and photos, he’s able to transport readers to not only an exotic location but also a wanderlust state of mind.
ONA: How did you get into photography/videography?
ZG: In 2012, I resigned my job as a commodities trader in Hong Kong. Since I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next or where I wanted to live, I headed out on the road to find the answers. Photography and storytelling had always been of great interest to me, but I had never thought that they could be more than that. Slowly but surely, I began to hone my skills and a new passion and career emerged.
ONA: What camera do you shoot with? What is your “go to” lens of choice?
ZG: I shoot mostly with my Nikon D700. My lens of choice is a 24-70mm F2.8: it is powerful yet versatile, which adequately prepares me for the unpredictability of my day-to-day while traveling. When I’m not carrying around my D700, I shoot with my iPhone.
ONA: What sort of project drives your creativity?
ZG: Storytelling projects make my heart sing. A couple of months ago, I headed down to Guatemala to complete a project about my parents and the tale of how they met in Guatemala in the late 1970s. It was exceptionally challenging – after nearly 40 years, so much in Guatemala had changed – but it was also very rewarding.
ONA: What is your dream project?
ZG: My dream project is to return to China to complete a storytelling project about the scrap metal industry. During my time as a commodities trader, I found it frustrating and soul-wrenching to wish to interact with workers in the metals industry, but to be told that there was an invisible dividing line between us and to keep quiet. As a fluent speaker of Mandarin Chinese, I would want to connect with these individuals, take their portraits and to tell their stories. The idea is inspired by Pieter Hugo, one of my favorite photographers, and his work “Permanent Error.”
My other dream project is to give people the gift of life-changing travel experiences, one which is well underway through the travel blog and startup I founded: Passion Passport. A couple of times each year, we give one applicant the ability to live out their dream trip by providing them with a grant. As their trip unfolds, they tell their story through our blog. [Note: ONA was a sponsor of The Bucket List Initiative and provided winner Jeff McAllister with an Astoria Bag; he recently shared photos from his experience in Peru on our blog.]
ONA: What is the hardest thing about being a photographer?
ZG: Time is the hardest thing to battle as a photographer. My efforts are divided between photography, some writing projects, and Passion Passport. As a result, finding time to edit photos, to write, and to discuss partnership opportunities – and also to travel – well, I often feel as though I am being pulled in many different directions!
ONA: How did you hear about us?
ZG: I heard about ONA through a photographer friend who spoke very highly of the combined style and functionality of their camera bags. I didn’t need much more convincing, but when I saw some fantastic travel-inspired product names to boot, ONA further captured my attention and affection!
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