This week we are hitting the west coast to feature our member Robert Zimiga of Robert Zimiga Photography of Glendale, California. Robert has found his true calling in photography and he credits his years in the tv and film industry as helping him hone his craft. He also thinks his background and upbringing helped him develop his true appreciation for life, love and photography.
Robert explains, “I come from a culturally diverse family.I pretty much grew up everywhere. I lived in North Carolina, Spain, South America, South Dakota, California, and been to almost every state in America. I grew up partially a military brat, packing up and moving to just about everywhere. I have 2 parts of my life that have stuck with me the most. I lived in Spain for 4 years at Zaragoza Airbase in Spain. During that time I was able learn a great deal about the Spanish Culture, and learn the language. I even went to bullfighting classes, hung out with matadors, and ran with the bulls. I fell in love with the country and it’s still in my heart till this day. I am a Lakota Sioux from South Dakota. My family is respected on the reservation and off. I grew up learning the importance of family. Our family is very open and loving to everyone no matter, race, culture, sexual orientation, or religion…we accept everyone…in the Lakota way we believe Mitakuye Oyasin…it means ‘we are all related.’ I believe my Mexican, Native American, Irish heritage is a blessing because I am able to relate to just about everyone. I love learning new cultures and ways of life and I think knowledge of each culture, language, and other ways of life make a well rounded person. It makes your eyes wider,your ears open more, and your heart stronger.”
I asked Robert what inspires him. He replied, “My inspiration I would have to say Ansel Adams, and My best friend thats no longer with us Gary Graver he was the Director of Photography for Orson Wells. He taught me how to frame and the process of a moving image. Everything to him was 2nd nature he LOVED everything about filmmaking. He loved working with filmmakers and photographers. I directed 3 short films where he was my DP and his experience and patience taught me a lot. He was incredible the way he would make things work on a budget. Gary was a Naval combat photographer so he knew how to think on his feet. I think a little bit of that rubbed off on me. He was and still to this day is my biggest inspiration.”
I asked Robert if he could go back in time and give himself some advice, what would it be? He answered, “ I would have to say..for me to have more faith in my abilities..I think we as “artists” tend to be our own worst critic. I use to spend time pixel peeping and looking at every single pixel but Ive learned that was a waste of time . It can get ya down when a shot isn’t 100% perfect. No one’s shot is 100% perfect no matter who takes it, especially to themselves. Remember, we don’t do art for our own viewing its for OTHER people to enjoy. Just enjoy the process.”
So I had to know what Robert’s favorite image of his was and why. He answered, ” The Badlands picture because right behind where I took the shot is my dad’s land on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. My dad always wanted a piece of land close to the badlands and now he has it. He wants to one day build his own place out there. I’m hoping one day to be able to afford to help him to build that place. That place is called Red Shirt Table.”
Inside Robert’s camera bag, you’ll find he keeps it simple. He packs a Canon along with two lenses and lots of adapters, wireless triggers, speedlights and gel packs. He keeps it simple to focus on what matters the most, his subject matter.
Thank you Robert for sharing your beautiful work with us. If you would like to see more of his work you can check out his facebook page HERE.