Born in Madison, WI to Greek parents and raised in both Melbourne, Australia and San Francisco, Emmanuella Zachariou now lives and studies in NYC. Having lived in two continents and traveling quite extensively, she turned to filmmaking and photography to document. Get to know more about her below:
How did you end up choosing to live and attend school in New York?
I was drawn to the music scene and the city itself. I love working with musicians and noticed that some of my favorite labels are actually located there. I thought it would be a great environment for me to mesh with musicians and work with them, photographing and doing music videos. However, after I was in New York, I realized there's so much more. There are great people, contacts, and friends... it just takes a lot of searching to find the right ones!
One misconception about you?
One common misconception about me is that I only do experimental films (and only work on 16mm)! I have done a lot of music videos, photo shoots, documentaries, and even a fashion film! I've actually worked digitally multiple times. I just prefer the look of film.
You dabble both in 16mm film and photography; what pushed you to pursue both medias? Which one did you pursue first?
I actually pursued photography first. I've been taking photos since 2011 when I received a 35mm camera. I absolutely love taking photos of my friends, and the environments around me. I got into 16mm by taking a precollege course at San Francisco Art Institute. The course was Experimental Cinema and we used 16mm Bolex cameras. I was immediately hooked and loved the timeless look of film. I didn't want to just stop one media. I loved to do both, so I decided to continue both photography and film . Although I am a film major, I really enjoy doing lots of photography on the side, and always will.
When you do photograph, what is your favorite subject to shoot?
I really don't have a favorite subject. I like to focus on everything I can. I love doing shoots where I can have a theme and dress up my friends, and I love just walking around the city, or traveling, and capturing anything that catches my eye.
I love that you shot most of the short films on your website with 16mm; where did you draw inspiration for the films 'Lifeblood' and 'Mere d'Inri' ?
Thank you! Mere d'Inri was a short film I had wanted to make for a while. College was a whole new experience and I was thrown into a different environment, where you are forced to grow up so suddenly, and in many cases lose yourself, and even go down an alternate path. The film is an experimental way of showing the loss of 'purity' and 'innocence', where you realize the world is not as idealistic as you once thought. I also love including religion in my films. It's a risky subject, and the way I have presented it may be offensive to some viewers, but that's not my intent. I respect all religions and use aspects of it as symbolism to get my message across. Lifeblood was inspired by one of my favorite filmmakers Stan Brakhage. I wanted to create a film that was able to explore the vitality and eradication of a human being's existence. The film's poem was hand etched onto 16mm leader frame by frame! So in a way, it kind of adds some animation into it too.
What's one thing that you haven't done, but would like to do?
I actually haven't officially photographed a band. I've shot polaroids of bands at their shows, but I would love to work with some musicians on a themed 35mm photoshoot and go out somewhere and finish a few rolls.
Words to live by?
Only compare yourself to your standards and expectations, but never compare yourself to other people. Focus on you and only you, don't let other people use their standards and expectations to alter your vision, always reminding yourself of who you really are and what you really are trying to achieve.