Artist Spotlight: Zalmy Berkowitz

If you are a regular reader of the blog, I’m sure you have noticed that our Artist Spotlight has been moving around the past couple weeks. We are happy to announce that Monday’s will be the new home for our weekly spotlight feature. This small change is part of some big plans that will be happening to the blog over the next two months. 2013 has been a great year for Snap It See It, but 2014 is going to be AMAZING! We cant wait to share whats in store for the instant film community. Now, on to this weeks Artist Spotlight.

self portrait

On the blog today we have the very talented Zalmy Berkowitz. I first noticed Zalmy’s work on Facebook. Take that back, I first noticed his amazing beard on Facebook. Then, I was drawn in by the small B&W glimpses of his world he provided on instant film. Zalmy has a way of capturing his family that makes you feel you were a part of the day. He invites you in and you can’t help but want to see more. And good news, he provided us with a ton of images to share with you. But, if this isn’t enough, please check out more of his work at the following links.

Website | Facebook


• A little about yourself. Where you are from and what you do.

I currently live with my wife and 5 kids in Long Beach, CA. I grew up in Huntington Beach (never surfed, because I know you want to know), went to school (hard-core Jewish style) in New York, Israel, and South Africa. I fell into graphic design sometime back and somehow graduated into photography (which, unlike design, I was actually decent at). Cliche as it is, I started photographing my kids, had everyone on Facebook saying “OMG you’re amazing” (which they say for everyone), and went on from there. We’re also crazy hippies. Homeschooling, fermenting, wheat grinding, gardening hippies (though we do shower). I’m also a Rabbi (by title) and I think in parenthesis.


How did you get into instant photography?

As with all my current obsessions, it started with a weird looking camera at the used camera shop (Polaroid Land Camera automatic-something-or-another). Was all downhill (or uphill depending on your view) from there.

What is your favorite camera used for instant photography?

I loved my RZ67 but currently am obsessed with my Speed Graphic, Schneider 12.5cm f/2 combo (custom made and calibrated by the ridiculously talented Brothers Wright).

What instant camera have you not shot with, but would love to try?

Polaroid 190 or 185, Mamiya Press (for the wide angles).

What’s your favorite Impossible film or pack film type?

FP3000b. Hand down. I really with they still made the 100 speed version. I’ve never used the impossible stuff.

How have you incorporated instant film into your regular workflow?

I haven’t really. I use it mostly for personal shooting and when I do bring it to a session it get’s messy. But the clients always love it (If you don’t love polaroid then you have serious issues), so I try to make it work.

How would you describe your voice or vision with instant photography? (does it differ from your other work?)

Hmmm. I’m not very good at talking about my voice or vision. I just shoot. Well, I meter, compose, focus, wait, and then shoot.

Any personal projects we should know about?

I’m theoretically working on a book of my photos of my family. Mostly film, but a lot of polaroids thrown in. I post most of my work to my Facebook, and periodically dump a bunch on my website.

What other photographers do you look up too?

I’m quite smitten by William Albert Adler’s work. It’s just so… real. Trente Park’s stuff always amazes me (If anyone has his book, I want it!!). Closer to my circles is Alan Laboile Richard Israel, Nate & Jaclyn Kaiser (their family work is just amazing), The Wright Brothers, when not tinkering on some newfangled camera or film, produce some really good work. Hmmmm, Ryan Muirhead, Mitchell Issel, Michael Ash Smith, Riccis Valladares… the list gets long 🙂

What advice would you give to someone just getting into instant photography?

Get ready for sticker shock. And prepare to be addicted.

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you seek it out or wait till it finds you?

I don’t know. Really. I just shoot. I guess I take inspiration from the craziness that is that comes along with a large family. Finding the peace and beauty amongst the chaos…


  1. Zalmy has been a favorite of mine since I first saw his work. So glad to see him spotlighted!

  2. Zalmy, you are freaking hilarious! You should include a narrative in your book of family photos.

    I love that second to last response. Addictive personalities (and parenthetical thinkers) beware!

  3. This is some next level stuff, so many great action shots here and a fun interview. Superb. I’m sure your family will love looking through these in years to come.

  4. I too noticed Zalmy on facebook for his beard, quickly followed by his sense of humour & incredible ability to document his endearing family. I adore his work, he is really doing something valuable. His kids will look back and KNOW about their childhood selves & life. Zalmy rocks, I hope one day I get to be in front of his lens.

  5. Zalmy is absolutely amazing! By far one of my favorite photographers I’ve come across on facebook. He takes mundane and makes it look anything but. AND THAT BEARD!

  6. LOVE Zalmy’s work, he is brilliant!!

  7. Thank you Chris for the interview and thanks so much to all the commentors (okay, that’s not a word, but what IS the right word?) for all the love!!

    • Zalmy, Thanks again to you as well. Your work is pure and such a delight to look at. I’m glad we were able to share it with our readers.

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