Journal Jams With Zak Bush - Stab Mag

Journal Jams With Zak Bush

Check in for their latest Journal Jams.

elsewhere // Apr 17, 2021
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

One of the perks of having incredibly talented friends is that it’s really easy to convince them to collaborate.

In the case of Zak Bush and Banks Journal’s Rama McCabe this was a long time coming. Once Art Director turned Banks Journal’s go-to guy for all things imagery, Zak has developed a stellar reputation both in and out of the surf world. Seeing as he’s worked with Banks for years, it seems only right that he be the subject of their latest ‘Journal Jams’, which takes a look at the everyday lives of surfing’s influential figures as well as the tunes that carry them through their day.

Read the interview with Zak below, and click here for his collection with Banks featuring his photos. Cheaper than a print!

Photo: Jeremy Knies

Jeremy Knies: Zak, what’s up man? Thanks for hanging for a bit! Editing day for you? 

Zak: Hey Jeremy! Ya I’ve been slugging away at edits for about a week now. Hopefully, will be done soon and I can enjoy a weekend. 

Jeremy: I hear ya man! So, are you originally from SoCal? Your work reminds me so much of coastal living.  

Zak: Nope, I’m from Toronto originally. A lot of people think that, but most equate it to my long hair.  I moved from Toronto when I was 17, and have been living next to the ocean since then…maybe that has something to do with it. 

 Jeremy: Ya, you do have a solid set of hair, didn’t really consider that much. What sparked your interest in photography anyways? Your work is pretty damn incredible.  

Zak: Thanks, I have always really enjoyed photography. I think my parents bought me my first camera when I was younger than 10 or so. Back then, I don’t know why I liked it, but now I just really like how captivating a still image can be. 

Photo: Jeremy Knies

Jeremy: Well damn, that is young. I think I was hooked on Legos at that age, or Lincoln Logs since Lego prices are insane. Anyways, was there a camera along your journey that changed the game for you at all? We all start somewhere.  

Zak: When I was living in Halifax, a city on the east coast of Canada, I was surfing a lot and ended up breaking my arm. It was winter and I couldn’t surf because of it. I ended up borrowing one of my roommate’s cameras, taking some photos of my friends surfing.  I think that was a Canon 30d. Those were the first images that I had published in a magazine. So, I guess that thing changed the game validating the fact that I was a decent shooter. 

Jeremy: When did you start photographing for Banks?  

Zak: I started shooting for Banks last year. Prior to that, I Art Directed the shoots for about a year when Dane Peterson was still shooting. Dane is a good friend and I really enjoyed working with him. Last year Dane took a break from shooting to focus on shaping surfboards and more artistic work, I stepped in to fill his shoes. Dane is such a talented creative, whatever he gets his hands on, it’s always so good. Unhinged Surfboards are really something stellar. 

Photo: Jeremy Knies

Jeremy: I agree, that man can do it all, haha. Bunch of talented fellas. Does photography ever become a bit of a drag? I mean, when you love something, that’s a hard one to come by, but I’m sure you’ve had your moments with it?

 Zak: Ya…I think that any job can become a drag at a certain point. When I feel that way, I really have to step back and look at how fortunate I am. I love taking photos… The fact that I’m able to make my living this way and the freedom that it provides me is something that I’m grateful for.  

Jeremy: Totally! Being a creative and being able to sustain yourself off of it is an art of its own. I give anyone credit that makes it work. So, in the mix of it all, are you able to paddle out much?  

Zak: It depends, some weeks, yes, and some weeks, no. Over the course of a month, I definitely get to surf more now than a few years ago when I had a Monday through Friday, 9-6.  

Photo: Jeremy Knies

Jeremy: Do you have any advice to any new or aspiring photographers or creatives?  

Zak: Read lots of photography books. Learn to value great images, not social media likes. 

Photo: Jeremy Knies

Jeremy: Ya…It’s easy to get caught up in that. But, it’s also fairly easy to differentiate who’s honing in on their crafts. Zak, what is this taco spot? These are damn phenomenal. Not to knock Venice, but didn’t think they could offer a taco this good, haha.  

Zak: This is Ted’s Red Tacos. It used to be a truck apparently, before they got this permanent location. They do Birria and Comsume really well. There are actually a bunch of really good taco spots in Venice, but they’re mainly trucks and carts on the side of the road, kinda like anywhere in LA. 

Photo: Jeremy Knies

BJ: I could have a street taco seven days a week, three times a day. So, what’s Venice living like? I used to come here all the time to snap photos in the early AM. In general, I feel it’s hard to take a bad photo here.  

Zak: Living in Venice is great. I like to walk down the beach because you get a great cross section of almost every genre of LA.  It’s interesting, I don’t actually shoot here that much… For some reason, when I’m home, it’s nice to not carry a camera all the time. 

BJ: Anything exciting mapped out for this year? 

Zak: A covid vaccine as soon as I can get one. 

Check out Banks most recent collection with Zak Bush.


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