Anyone who has ever played in a band knows how tough it can get at times to navigate all that comes along with that responsibility, but Zack Rogers has clearly missed that memo. You see, the South Florida-based musician is currently a member of a four groups: Ecostrike, Result of Choice, Be All End All, and Big Mack. I applaud that kind of dedication.
In addition to his band-related activities, Zack is also a photographer whose work I wanted to feature on the site via our ongoing Photographer Spotlight series.
Where were you born and raised, and were your parents into the arts?
I was born in Orangeburg, SC and moved from there when I was an infant so I don’t have a clue about what it’s like there. I was raised in Boca Raton, FL though and have lived here since I was 5-years-old. My mom wasn’t into art much, but she has always been supportive of me.
What was your first musical love?
My first musical love I think was Good Charlotte when I was in the third grade. I saw the music video for "The Anthem" either on MTV or in the AOL video section, or something and couldn’t believe what I was hearing or how cool I thought they looked. I then became obsessed with The Young and the Hopeless and that’s all I would listen to that school year. I would only listen to that record by them though, because I wasn’t aware that they had an album before that until I was older.
What is your camera and post set up?
I use is a Fujifilm X100S and besides an external flash that’s all I really have for gear. I used to shoot with a Pentax MX, but went digital for shows mainly because I wasn’t thrilled with how long it took for me to develop, scan, and edit my pictures. I love my Fujifilm so much and it definitely helped progress my photography as well as challenge myself. It has a fixed lens and I wasn’t a fan of the lens converter that I had for it, so I only shoot with a 35mm focal length at this point in time.
Who are some of your favorite bands to shoot?
Field Agent, Unified Right, Day By Day, Firewalker, Abuse of Power, Magnitude, and Deflect come to mind. With those bands I've gotten some of my favorite pictures I've ever taken. Also, it's so easy to get good shots during their sets because there's so much movement on and off the stage.
If you could go back in time, who are some bands that you would have loved to shoot?
Youth of Today in the '80s would be insane. Everyone's losing their minds to them in videos, so of course it’d be perfect to shoot. The Have Heart last show in 2009 is one of the craziest sets in hardcore history, so that would be a dream. Oh, also shooting Dinosaur Jr. around 1993. They’re my all-time favorite band and that was around my favorite era of the band when Where You Been got released. J looked awesome and would play that sparkle blue Esquire. Also, there are videos of the band playing with a giant version of the man on the Where You Been album behind them so getting shots of that too would be so cool.
Since you’re also a musician and very active on that side of things, do you ever find yourself thinking about the photographers covering whatever band you’re playing in during the middle of a performance?
Sometimes it crosses my mind but not often. Like if there’s a certain part that’s happening in a set and I notice a bunch of people two stepping or moshing I wonder if anyone is getting shots of that as opposed to the band. Of course, a cool live shot of someone playing or an ospo part is something people try to get, but there’s so much that goes on in the crowd during sets that I feel can get overlooked. Some of my favorite pictures are of people in crowds and I’m always on the lookout for a good one.
Is it getting tougher to carve a space out at venues since there are so many people shooting these days? How do you feel about that?
It definitely is, but mainly when I’m elsewhere for a show. Besides me in South Florida there are only about two or three other people taking pictures at shows and when they do it’s not terribly often. When I go out of town it’s a real challenge finding a good spot though. It can be a bit discouraging seeing so many people on stage, but I try not to mind it too much. As long as I can get a couple of good shots I’m happy.
Tell me about some newer bands that we should all be on the lookout for.
The first band that comes to mind is Jackal, a hardcore punk band from South Florida. They just put out a new 7” on Painkiller Records and me and everyone else who has listened to it love it. Field Agent is another great South Florida band playing fast hardcore with an incredible tape out called The Power. Deviant is a hardcore punk band from Richmond who put out a record at the beginning of the year that’s definitely worth checking out. Also, Fake Eyes from Charlotte is a band that sounds like Hum with members of Magnitude in it.
Who are some modern-day photographers that you admire?
Kiabad Meza immediately comes to mind. One of the nicest people who has encouraged and influenced my work more than I think he knows. And of course his pictures are amazing! I really like Angela Owens’ work, too. There’s always so much energy in her pictures and it’s something that I strive to get in all of mine. Also, Simon Parris is someone I found out about fairly recently whose photography I’ve been obsessing over. His photos of the crowds of people at shows are incredible and leave you with so much to take in. The colors, the energy, and framing all make it so perfect.
If you had to pick one of your photos that best encapsulates why you love shooting bands/artists, which one would it be and why?
It probably would be this picture of Abuse of Power playing FYA in 2018. I wasn’t standing on stage, but on these stairs beside the pit area at the Cuban Club in Tampa. There were a ton of people on stage and I felt a bit discouraged to try and force a spot up there, so I stood off to the side and tried shooting there. Surprisingly it was a great spot to be in and I got some pictures from their set that I really like. It was the end of Abuse of Power's set and they were playing "When Then Becomes Now" and it got to the last chorus. Everyone was singing along and I wasn’t paying much attention to what was really going on, but Kaleb had everyone singing into a banana instead of a mic. I think that picture expresses why I love taking pictures of bands so much. Hardcore is fun and exciting and leaves me with moments I’m happy to have shot.
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