Zimberoff, Tom 1951-
ZIMBEROFF, Tom 1951-
PERSONAL: Born December 19, 1951, in Los Angeles, CA; son of Benjamin Joseph (a violinist) and Alyce (Lipsey) Zimberoff; married Molly Gleason (divorced). Education: Attended University of Southern California, 1970-71.
CAREER: Professional photographer and writer, 1971—. Founder of Vertex Software, Inc., 1993, and Exactly Vertical, Inc., 1999. Speaker at universities and other educational institutions, including Art Institute of Atlanta, and at workshops. Creator of PhotoByte software for automating the business of photography. Exhibitions: Photographs represented in collections at National Portrait Galley, London, England; Israel Museum; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA; Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and Performing Arts Library and Museum, San Francisco, CA; also represented in corporate collections.
Photography: Focus on Profit (includes Photobyte software), Allworth Press (New York, NY), 2002.
Art of the Chopper (photographs), MBI Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 2003.
Contributor to periodicals, including Bulletin of the American Society of Media Photographers, Communication Arts, Photo District News, and View Camera. Photographs have appeared on covers of prominent magazines, including Fortune, Money, People, and Time.
SIDELIGHTS: Tom Zimberoff told CA: "Every photographer's ambition, first and foremost, is to support his art, not to run a business. When artists struggle with the unanticipated reality of becoming entrepreneurs, they do not (or cannot) always act like responsible business owners. That makes it hard to be taken seriously. Yet they complain indignantly when they feel threatened economically by the leverage of a powerful corporate culture that seems unfairly poised against them. They wring their hands about meager cash flow, yet they are typically three days into their current photo assignments and six weeks behind on paperwork, including invoicing. That conundrum in particular has a disproportionate and adverse impact on the entire community of commercial photographers. One of its insidious consequences is a high rate of attrition, as many individuals fail financially. That has led to a steady decline in licensing fees and profitability for those who manage to cling to their careers.
"Every beginner who goes out of business is likely to pull a more established colleague down with him. Novices can do a tremendous amount of damage to the profession if they haven't learned how to price themselves fairly and competitively in the marketplace. Therefore, the concern is not for those photographers who already know how to run a profitable business, but for those who do not yet have the capability to do so. I wrote Photography: Focus on Profit to show photographers how to be profitable, not just to tell them how to do it. The initial motivation was one of self-preservation. I've tried to codify the best practices of the profession and give readers a tool (PhotoByte software, distributed free with the book) to put into practice what I preach; so it goes beyond the theoretical and becomes practicable."
"I was born in Los Angeles and was raised there and in Las Vegas, Nevada. As proficient with a clarinet as with a camera, I succumbed to the lure of photography while studying music at the School of Performing Arts at the University of Southern California. Portrait photography is a predatory sport. Like a big-game hunter, I stalk my prey, look for a good clean shot, and try to avoid unnecessary wounds. I hang their heads on a wall to admire, like trophies. My first two portrait subjects were Marx and Lennon—that's Groucho and John, of course.
"Having begun my career in rock 'n' roll photography, touring with famous bands, I moved over to television and motion picture stills for advertising. After that I embarked on a career in Central America, working for Time and other magazines as a member of the Sygma Photo Agency and, later, Gamma-Liaison.
"I also founded both Vertex Software, the original publisher of PhotoByte software, and Exactly Vertical. I became an authority on the topic of business automation for commercial photographic applications, contributing articles to journals, teaching seminars at universities and trade schools, and speaking at workshops across the country."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
The Photographic Work of Tom Zimberoff,http://www.zimberoff.com/ (September 30, 2004).