At the end of Sam Mendes’ Oscar-winning film, “American Beauty” (1999), Kevin Spacey’s character, Lester Burnham says in an emotional monologue about his life, “I guess I could be pretty ticked off about what happened to me, but it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world.” This line serves as a message to society that encourages people to take the time to let go of their struggles and enjoy the beauties of the world. Hiking, camping, surfing, snowboarding, skiing, biking and mountain climbing are all excellent methods of “letting go and enjoying life”, but for senior Liz Zorn, the beauties of life have been presented to her through photography;
“Taking pictures brings me to my happy place,” Zorn said. “If I’m feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, going out and taking pictures can really help take my mind off of whatever is bothering me. All I’m thinking about in those moments is trying to capture something specific and that makes me feel really peaceful.”
Zorn has possessed an intrinsic interest in photography all her life and has studied it as both a hobby and a potential career.
“I’ve really been taking pictures with some some sort of camera for as long as I can remember,” Zorn said. “Even when I was really little, I’d always be snapping photos on vacations with disposable Kodak cameras that I got as gifts whenever I went on trips. I’ve been taking it seriously since I got my first digital camera when I was 10 years old.”
While some up-and-coming photographers have found it beneficial to master photography at an art school or university, Zorn has a more self-taught approach when it comes to her work.
“If I were to study photography professionally, I think I’d do it as a minor instead of a major,” Zorn said. “I think it’s more practical and beneficial to get a degree in something else since photography is a very difficult field to be successful in.”
Rather than choosing to learn from professors at a university or study photographs in a classroom, Zorn has chosen to intern at Littleton portrait studio, Vision Photography.
“I heard about the internship opportunity after I took my senior pictures there,” Zorn said. “My mom asked if they had any internship opportunities and it just so happened that they did, so I went for it. I fell in love with the studio at first sight and everyone there is so friendly and welcoming and the environment is such a fun place to be in.”
The duties of a Vision intern usually consist of computer work like developing phone apps, sending emails and searching for models, but they also participate in watermarking, lighting assistance and photographer shadowing.
“I don’t get to take photos there, since they’re such a high-desired company, but I do get to ask the photographers questions about how to improve and perfect my work, which has been really helpful,” Zorn said.
In addition to photography, another one of Zorn’s hobbies has been filming videos of her vacations, trips and adventures and posting them on her YouTube channel.
“Since I’ve been blessed to travel frequently, I wanted to be able to remember the trips that I’ve gone on,” Zorn said. “I used to send all of the travel videos I made to family, but then I decided to make them more public by posting them on a YouTube channel after seeing other people do this.”
Her YouTube channel contains footage of her trips to Los Angeles, Spain, Oahu, Kauai, Cape Canaveral, Key West and Iceland, as well as videos that document her fun adventures with friends and family to downtown Denver, Vail, the various mountains in Colorado and concerts.
“I’m not a really big fan of seeing my face or hearing my voice in my videos, but I love filming my trips and making them into little music videos,” Zorn said.
Zorn’s experience with travel and exploring the world around her has provided her with a personal position on the importance of travel.
“The world is full of so many different cultures and lifestyles that we have to explore,” Zorn said. “You can see so much history by traveling and there’s educational value in it because it’s so much more informative to stand in a church that was built in 500 B.C. than it is to read about it in a textbook.”
The sky is, literally, the limit when it comes to Zorn’s inspiration her photos and videos.
“I find inspiration for my work all over the place,” Zorn said. “When it comes to portraits, I usually get my ideas from popular Instagram users, but mostly, I see things that would make great photos in my head and then I go out and take them.”
Zorn’s purpose and mission as a photographer is to capture the world in all of its different aspects by photographing scenery like night skies, but she also documents her trips and snaps portraits of her friends, peers and family.
People liking and enjoying her photos is very important to her, like it is to all photographers, but her compassionate and kind personality is obvious in her advice to those interested in photography:
“Photography is all about being yourself, so photograph what you want to photograph!” Zorn said. “Find what style of photography you like best and just go crazy with it! Enjoy it and have fun with it, but also stay open to new ideas, learn patience and be as creative as you can.”
Experience the magnificent and beautiful world through the eyes of Zorn by visiting her website, following her on Instagram and Facebook and subscribing to her YouTube channel at the links below. Her talent, experience and professionalism is clearly evident in her work and to say that her work is breathtaking would be an understatement.
YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9xEBgPm6W43IOX2IyiJqhA
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/liz.zorn.7?fref=ts
Instagram – @lizornphotography
Website – http://lizornphotography.weebly.com/