Meet The Artist: Zara Jackson

Zara Jackson is a 26 year old photographer from Belfast. Zara took up photography after her friends and colleagues who work in the film and media industry in Northern Ireland needed headshots for modelling, acting, CVs and extra work. Zara steadily built up her own network by reaching out to them and hasn’t stopped since.

What genre / style do you create in?

Headshots, wedding, fashion, behind the scenes and nature.

What would you be best known for?

Close up work with flowers, leaves and natural textures as well as candid shots of models and friends.

What would you consider your biggest achievement?

In terms of photography, capturing the catwalk at Belfast Fashion Week and working on my first wedding in Aug 2019. In terms of life, getting my masters degree in Film & Visual Studies from Queens University in 2017 and speaking on behalf of my undergraduate class of 2015 in Ulster University for Media Studies and Production.

What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your industry?

That being a “people person” is invaluable and to have a lot of fun with your work.

What has been your biggest challenge to date?

The business side of things, promoting myself and learning the best techniques to attract clients.

Tell us a little about your personal life, are you married, kids, hobbies etc?

I met my boyfriend when we both worked on season 8 of Game Of Thrones. I got my masters degree in Film & Visual Studies from Queens University in 2017. I love to travel, swim and bake. I like music, film, museums, trying new recipes and learning Spanish.

Tell us about your most recent work?

I worked with my friend Keith who is a pole dancer to create promotional photographs for him. We used spotlights, a glitterball, mirrors and a smoke machine to capture his incredible acrobatics and movement on the pole. Something totally different for me and so much fun! We really had time to experiment with different set-ups/ outfits and shapes.

What would you like us to tell people about?

My photography business, that I’m available for weddings, birthdays, commercial shoots like fashion and lifestyle as well as film industry shoots like behind the scenes work and headshots for models, actors, musicians and business purposes.

If you had to describe your work to someone who has never heard of you what would you say?

I would say I like to capture moments, I like symmetry but I also enjoy challenging the viewer with something different like an arrangement of images they haven’t seen before or presenting something they are familiar with in an abstract way.

What’s the funniest experience you’ve had in your business?

I always have a lot of fun with every shoot I am on, it would be hard to pick out the funniest experience, I would have to really think about that.

What would your advice be to young people hoping to pursue the same industry?

Work hard on your USP, think about what makes your work unique but also what skills or personality traits make YOU unique to do this work. Have as much fun as you can.

Anything else you want to tell people about yourself or your work?

My Facebook page is called: @ZaraJayPhotography

Who do you look up to and why?

Annie Lebowitz as she did an amazing spread for Vogue Magazine back in 2005 based on Alice In Wonderland which has stayed with me since I discovered it, using it as contextual material while studying A Level Art & Design. The glossy, moody, melancholy and outrageous styling of the shoot and setting/ mise-en-scene blew me away and still does, she is a big inspiration.


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