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BetterPhoto Photography Interview with Jim Zuckerman - Part I

Like many of our BetterPhoto online photography class instructors, Jim Zuckerman is self taught. Jim is a book writer, photography teacher, photo workshop leader, and world traveller. Jim's images are stunningly beautiful, filled with color and life. In this interview, he talks with us about he became a successful photographer.

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You are a successful photographer and writer, but I know that your intended career was as a doctor. What compelled you to make the switch?

Jim Zuckerman:

I fell in love with photography and had to do it. I couldn't imagine medicine making me any happier than I was when I was taking pictures.

What sorts of steps did you take to learn photography? Classes, workshops, books?

Jim Zuckerman:

I am entirely self-taught. I read photo magazines and then I tried all the techniques I read about, mostly in the special effects arena. This was decades before Photoshop, of course. I didn't get seriously into nature and travel photography until I bought my first medium format camera in 1980.

When did you know you finally "made it" as a professional?

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Jim Zuckerman:

There was never a moment in time when I considered myself successful as a professional. The realization that I was actually making a good living in photography gradually crept up on me over the course of many years.

Do you remember your first photography sale?

Jim Zuckerman:

Yes. I sold a photo of a dog sled race taken at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. The photo sold for $25 for the cover of Palm Springs Life Magazine, and it ran in the January 1971 issue.

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