We had the good fortune of connecting with Zack Mack and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zack, why did you pursue a creative career?
In all honestly I just fell into an artistic and creative career. I didn’t even think about it as being artistic or creative until much later down the line. I was just a kid skateboarding with my friends, who happened to have a camera and a lot of those friends became professional skateboarders. So, then I would film my friends and sell the videos to their sponsors and it just kept growing from there. It all just fell into place very organically looking back at it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Well, it all starts as a little 10 year old kid skateboarding in the streets of San Diego with his friends. I finagled one of my mother’s camcorders away from her and would use it to film my friends skateboarding. Eventually a lot of my friends became professional skateboarders and I continued filming them, which lead to me working freelance for many different companis that sponsored my friends. It all fell into place and seemed like the right path for me to pursue. It definitely was not easy and the freelance lifestyle can be a little hectic, but that is how I prefer it haha. I ended up traveling all over the world for the greater part of the past decade filming and photographing skateboarding. Through those years and experiences I started to form my own style, I would say my style is very simple. I really just try to transport the viewer to the place, trying to capture the essence of the city or country or block or wherever it may be. I like to think you can feel the temperature or smell the aromas or hear the traffic or someone yelling at us for skateboarding and so on. I really love just the raw vibes or emotion you can feel from a certain video or photo. That has become my main goal with my work without really thinking about it until explaining it now haha.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This definitely happens a lot for me. I live in downtown San Diego, so I always start by taking friends to balboa park, which is one of my favorite places. Usually bring along some wine or beer & mezcal (Resol Mescal of course) for a little picnic in the sun by the botanical gardens. Then probably pop over to Panama 66 right there in the park for some food and one of the best ambiances in San Diego, love that place. Back before the pandemic on Wednesday nights they would have Jazz night there and would definitely take friends there always. Next stop would most definitely be Salud in Barrio Logan for some tacos, and a michelada, they’ve got real good veggie tacos. Then cruise around the barrio to Por Vida Cafe for a pick me up and onwards across the street to Arts-Rec skateshop to say whats up and friends pick up some mandatory SD souvenirs. After that pop over the bridge to Coronado to hop in the ocean for a refresher, maybe a surf. Then to Tavern right across from the beach there for some food and cocktails. Little Italy is always a stop for pizza at isola or drinks at my favorite watering whole, Princess Pub. Last but not least, I always take friends 15 minutes South to Tijuana for some tacos, beers, tequila and a Xolos soccer game if the timing is right.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Well, it is a very long long list of people haha. But, to name a just a few that really stand out from the beginning to now…I would start with the late great Street Machine Skateshop (now closed), the place that really molded me by showing me films, photography, art and everything about the diverse global culture that is skateboarding. Truly opened my world and met so many lifelong friends that have continually inspired me and encouraged me to keep going on the creative path like Justin Atallian who is a top tier designer working at Nike Futbol designing jerseys for FC Barcelona & more, Kellen James who is a professional skateboarder, Josh Vasquez who is a musician/artist and many many more. From there we can fast forward to when I moved to San Francisco to attend SFSU film school I had been well into filming and involved in the skateboarding industry at this time, so I had friends in the Bay Area already. This is when I met Ando Caulfield from FTC Skateshop on Haight St in San Francisco. He is an amazing photographer and person. He has been one of my biggest motivators and we have traveled the world together working on skateboard commercials, films, documentaries, zines and working with non-profit organizations. Fast forward to nowadays, my good friend Nestor Judkins is a huge inspirartion. He is a professional skateboarder, photographer & runs a non-profit organization called Salad Days that collects funds, skateboards, shoes, clothing and more to then work directly with other non-profit organizations around the world to help spread the gift of skateboarding to communities in need. So, long story short…I owe everthing to skateboarding! And last, but not least my great friend and legendary skateboard cinematographer and photographer Anthony Claravall, He really pushed me into traveling more and more to new places. And all of that really brought my passion for street photography, portraits and all around photography to a whole new level!
Only myself, Zack Mack…unfortunately couldn’t track down any photos of myself in action from friends in time haha.