Molly Zacher's Portfolio

How is it already December??

It’s been another two months since I’ve written a blog post, so I figured it’s about time for a little update.

I have since had another two rolls of film processed (photo-taking has slowed dramatically with the few hours of daylight and new hobby of long distance running – but I still keep my little film camera close for occasional snaps)
So thrown into this mix of photos we have summer weekends in nyc/coney island, a trip to DC to visit my sister and her girlfriend Cassady, a visit from my high school bff Mandz, followed by a visit from my sister, and other miscellaneous solo wanders thru this beautiful city.

I can’t describe how much I’m still in love with being here; it hasn’t faded one bit.
As the seasons change, and it gets colder, I only love it even more.
I left the city for thanksgiving last week and I was afraid that, after taking a few days away from the busy city for the first time since moving here, I wouldn’t be as willing to return, but that was not the case.
I happily returned to the city; from plane, to tram, to NJ transit, to subway, to rainy walk back to my cozy room. I returned to buying my own groceries from the tiny grocery store a four blocks from my apartment, going to work every day, and running around central park on the weekends.

Speaking of which… a fun new update in the life of me:

I have recently decided to train for a half marathon in the spring of 2019.
As I spent most of my weekends wandering around the city anyways, I figured why not kill two birds with one stone, and wander a little faster.
Megan and I sadly weren’t chosen for the NYC United Half, but we are actively looking for the next best option, and in the meantime, I will continue to be shocked that my not-made-for-distance body is able to carry me 5-10 miles at a time without completely falling apart.
I remember some of my first runs when getting to the city, I would be happy to have made it 2 miles without stopping (granted the heat and humidity are not my fav running conditions), and I was astounded by the people who made full loops around central park.
Just yesterday I ran all the way from my apartment on 154th, to the bottom of central park (59th St.) and all the way back up. 10 miles. What.
My knees are not thrilled with this new hobby, and I did sleep from 3:00pm until 6:00pm after that run (and still fell asleep at 11:00pm and slept until 8:00am … <3 sleep <3) but it gives me a fun sense of accomplishment for something so silly.

My job is mostly the same…
I got to whip out my (very inadequate) After Effects talents to make the company “holiday card” (a video that featured all the company’s collaborations and “happy holidays” in about 12 different languages). The outcome was less than perfect and featured a “snowy mountain” background, holly border, and animated falling snow … Along with everything else flying in and out of the frame, it was far from clean and elegant, but I guess that’s not what they’re looking for at a children’s clothing company.
I was just happy to not have a total breakdown from the CMPA PTSD/flashbacks … however opening the program and having my brain actively refuse to remember how to use it was not pleasant.
The holidays are generally pretty slow at good old Haddad Brands, so I am very ready for the new year, and hopefully quite a bit of a change of pace … we’ll see.

I’m looking forward to going home for christmas, spending time with my family, hopefully some snow, and the other big city I call home (chicago).
I have plans to dye my hair for the first time ever (real exciting things over here) and I purchased a new film camera (Minolta XG7) to replace my Canon AE1 that broke in March (RIP) – as much as I love my little point and shoot, I can't wait to start shooting manual film again.

My sense of direction and independence and excitement for the future feels like it grows a little bit every day. I am so thankful for the clarity and peace of mind I have found over the past year or so …

Naturally, I am already starting to feel nostalgic for this year, but I’ll save that bout of reminiscing for another blog post … :)

Until next time … thanks for reading

Anxious & Impatient

(image inspired by Ben Howard’s new singles, my old photo style, and anxiety — and a special shout out to Megan Zacher for fielding my endless stream of texts and talking me through all my irrational thoughts. Big sisters rock)

Prepare for more over-dramatic, poorly written, stream of consciousness !! 
Ready set go

Today I was anxious for the first time in a while.
I was sitting at my desk, editing photos for nine hours straight, just like every other day, but my chest felt tight and I was getting a headache from the crease I had held between my eyebrows for virtually the entire day.
I wasn’t forgetting anything; I hadn’t forgotten to pay rent or turn off the stove at home… I was anxious about the future, which is somehow significantly more terrifying than getting evicted or burning your entire apartment building down.
I was thinking about all the advice I’ve received in the past year about “adulthood”, specifically about being an “adult” creative (quotes bc I’m still not sure anyone would call whatever I’m doing right now adult behavior, and I definitely don’t feel like an adult). 

I was told that everyone stops creating for themselves once they get a job, your personal projects fall to the wayside, and you forget to work on things that are not for Work. I didn’t want this to be me. But over the past three months, as I’ve settled into my 8:30-5:30, Monday through Friday desk job, I’ve found that I’ve barely picked up my camera in a month. Creativity and the energy to create wanes day by day and the ever-growing portfolio I was once creating while in school is now gathering dust in the corner of my room. 

I have things I want to shoot, I have aspirations and plans, but when I have time to work on them, I feel like I’ve lost all motivation and energy to follow through. My job drains my inspiration and motivation during the week and I spend all weekend sleeping and running errands. Before I know it, it’s Monday again and I begin every week wondering when I’ll create again. 

I know where this path leads and I don’t want to be there.
I know what I have to do to get where I want to go … so why is it so hard to follow through?
Why am I not taking the steps I am fully aware I need to be taking?
Why am I not shooting more.

I’m scared.
Scared I’m not good enough
Scared to step out of the comfort of a steady paycheck
Scared people will hate everything I create, or worse, that it will go unnoticed Scared I’ll be stuck in this (or another) boring, uninspiring job forever 

I know it’s just a matter of starting something, and allowing things to grow and evolve from there, but that has always been the hardest part.
I was on such a roll a year ago. I started taking photos and didn’t stop all the way up until graduation… but since then things have slowly tapered off.
I keep hearing that I should cut myself some slack – after moving to a new city alone, starting a job, being on my own, getting settled, moving again, and everything else that has happened in the past two months … it has made it difficult to pursue my personal passions, but don’t they always say that the people who push through the struggle are the ones who are most successful?

I have begun to settle into a routine.
Every week looks the same, and any variation from the monotony becomes my only salvation (ask me how excited I am for my sister to visit this weekend).
I long for the day that I don’t know what the next month holds, when I’ll travel, and explore, and create, and interact with other creatives, and feel excited again.

I know I’ll get there.

I’m just so impatient.

Two Years Later

I woke up this morning and immediately felt like shooting …
So I rolled out of bed, picked up my camera, and started shooting (using my suitcase as a tripod, with a shoe holding the lens in place… really DIY here since I didn’t have room/enough weight to pack my unreasonably heavy tripod in my suitcase)
A photo I shot two years ago has been on my mind so I decided to shoot an updated version. (Also there’s something about slept in beds that is so special to me and I always find myself coming back to them…)

(Prepare for dramatic stream of consciousness … but that’s also nothing new, so what did you really come here for)

Two years ago I was having a small identity crisis – not knowing where my work (or life) was headed, I didn’t feel like I had a grasp of what my style/aesthetic was, and I didn’t feel like I was shooting enough. I made a promise to myself to “find my imagination again, see the world through a photographers eye, and stop being lazy”
After that day, I actually did shift my mentality (whether I felt it or not at the time). It took some time to truly change, and even though I don’t think it will ever stop changing completely, I did what I said I was going to do. 
(I also told myself I would take step back from the constant judgement and just appreciate making art again, to stop making excuses, bring my camera with me everywhere I go, shoot when I feel like it, and edit at my leisure, which ended up happening more within this last year, but I’m got there.)

This last year has been such a growing period both in my personal life and for my work.
I can’t even comprehend the amount of changes I’ve gone through in the last 365 days, and I don’t know if I could have imagined I’d be sitting where I am right now.
I find myself realizing that I accomplished what I set out to do two years ago (despite telling myself that I never would) and the most exciting thing is that I’m not satisfied.
I’m living in New York City, with a job, a place to live, and people I love, but I still have more to accomplish. It makes me so happy to know that there is more to work for and challenges to overcome, and life to live.

I truly have been waiting to graduate college and get out into the “real world” since high school, and everyone always told me that high school and college were the “best times of your life” … (I call BS)
School is great and I am so thankful for the things I learned (both in classes and just in life). I couldn’t have more gratitude for the opportunity to go to college, and to have parents that support me in all of my crazy endeavors (even if they asked me seven hundred times if I was sure I wanted to be a photographer). 
There was just so much more that I wanted to do and get started on – I felt like so many things were temporary, I was waiting for one thing to end so the next thing could start. Life was so cyclical and I felt like I was constantly waiting for something, even if I didn’t know what it was.

Now I finally feel like I can do the things I’ve been waiting to do. There’s a whole life out there ahead of me and I have no idea what it looks like, and where I’ll be in a year from now, and what adventures I’ll go on, but I’m so excited (yeah, I know its cliché… whatever).
I’m ready to learn everything I can outside of a classroom and make memories and photos that document both the mental and physical changes in my life.

So here we are… growin, learnin, livin, and still shooting photos in bed.

I’m making new dreams, plans, and goals… I have new promises to make to myself to keep improving and growing.
I’m never going to stop shooting. Even if my job doesn’t directly allow me to shoot, I will shoot for myself as often as possible. Because what kind of passion is it if you don’t do it for yourself, for no reason at all, for no reward, but just for the sake of doing it.

Also here’s an outtake that I felt like sharing because after my nudes project I apparently have no shame … bringing new meaning to “peach fuzz”

Post-Grad Update

Alright y’all … she’s back.

It’s been a minute since I’ve actually written an update on this here “blog”. Especially since the last time I posted an update I was harassed about my writing style… but I’m not about to give up that easily ! 
So here I go, writing poorly-edited paragraphs about the ongoings on my life, and posting them into the abyss of the internet, where no one will read them, besides maybe my mom !

I graduated from college (SCAD) at the beginning of June, packed up all my belongings, and after a few days on Tybee with my family, drove back to Geneva, IL with my parents. Going home was a nice break from the chaos of finals, last minute shoots, college drama, graduation stress, etc., but I was determined to not make it permanent. I spent a week applying for jobs, reaching out to any and all possible job leads and photographers that I’d spoken to in the past, and attempting to reset my jacked-up sleep schedule (still working on that one). After the first week, I contracted a sickness from my parents, and things kind of settled down as I spent most of the day sleeping, coughing, or blowing my nose.

Somehow, my lack of activity led to an actual job opportunity !!
I heard back from a company in NYC offering to set up an interview, unfortunately they wouldn’t take skype/phone interviews and required that I be there in person. So I decided that after a trip to upstate New York for my cousin’s graduation, I would extend the trip and head to the city for this interview.

Which brings up to today: four days into this trip, two interviews in, a couple meetings down, and waiting to hear back to see if I need to book that plane ticket home yet or not…
It’s wild not knowing if I’ll need to start looking for places to live or if I’ll be headed home to continue looking for jobs, but I’m surprisingly okay with the uncertainty.

I received some really great advice a few months ago:
People who are most successful are those who can deal with uncertainty with grace, those who find comfort in discomfort, and “allow discomfort to be the air they breathe”.
I found that so comforting. It speaks to the idea that no one ever has everything figured out. There is always something that is unknown or unsettling or confusing, and if you can process those things and avoiding letting them take control of your mentality/life, you will be better off. 
That’s how I feel about my current situation… I’m here in New York, not sure what my next steps will be, with no idea what the next few months of my life will look like, or even the next few days (!!) but I’m calm. I’m happy. I’m willing to work through the uncertainty and find peace in the unknowns.
It’s exciting to not know, and I have this strange blind-faith that things will work out. As my wise older sister once said to me: “something will happen and it will be fine” 

Now if you made it this far, I hope you’ll enjoy some photos from the last roll of 35mm that I shot in sav…

Stay tuned for whatever happens in the next few weeks …!

Milk Makeup Mock Ad Shoot

I had the pleasure of teaming up with Nikita Jansen again to shoot a mock ad for Milk Makeup.

We had a black shooting some beauty looks and Nikita even directed the shoot from behind and in front of the camera:

Models: Nikita Janse, Nikki Kurtz, & Nikki Wu

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