Albuquerque the Magazine’s 100th Issue Anniversary

In April of 2004, I was asked by Larryl to shoot the very first cover of Albuquerque the Magazine.

The model was Kim Donald, now Jackson and we had a blast running around downtown in fabulous fashion, and finally ended up on the roof of the parking structure on First St and Gold. As the sun was setting, we were trying lots of ideas to capture the golden light, something of the city and of course, the beauty of Kim.

I was honored to be asked and now, nine years later the Magazine is celebrating a well earned anniversary. Thank you for letting me be involved in the birth of this city’s favorite publication!


Albuquerque Fashion Photographer

When I Was Young, It Was All About the Heat

When I was 30ish, I got serious about my photography.


I started shooting models for their portfolios in San Francisco. I would charge them $100 for the shoot and do two rolls of film on them, two ‘looks’.

Within six months my mentor (I believe in mentors!) told me that I should get my butt to Europe, specifically, Italy, specifically, Milan so that I could get access to fashion magazines and get published.

So the week I arrived in Milan, I went to the offices of VOQUE in a big marble laden high rise, unannounced, and asked for an appointment to show my work.


They asked me to wait while they called the art directors together.


I had a portfolio of black and white images, including some of the ones you see here, and a whole lot of confidence.


They gathered around the 20′ table, rolling cigarettes and passing my book around, speaking quick, hushy Italian.

“Wonderful work” the brassy blonde closest to me said, leaning in close. “You have good eyes, keep shooting the pictures and see us again….”

My first rejection.

Kyle Zimmerman Fashion

Kyle Zimmerman Fashion

Kyle Zimmerman Fashion

Kyle Zimmerman Fashion


Kyle Zimmerman Fashion

Kyle Zimmerman Fashion



What I really think of you

Seth Godin’s posed some great questions today (in red). I respect his mind and his way of caring about our world so I decided to take a moment to answer….


Who is your next customer? (Conceptually, not specifically. Describe his outlook, his tribe, his hopes and dreams and needs and wants…)

You want to be loved.
You want to be healthy.
You want your people to know they are loved and that they are lovable.
You want to do work that makes you feel alive and connected to others.
You want to make art that expresses your heart.
You are a tribe that wants your whole life to be lived more authentically, with more honesty, with more fun.
And maybe you even deserve a little bit of pure joy.

What is the story he told himself (about the world, about his situation, about his perceptions)
before he met you?

Some people believe that family photos are:

Supposed to be pretty and perfect but really they are revealing of flaws
Bragging- they make it look like we are self centered
Expensive– it’s a luxury we cannot afford
Phony– the emotions and poses are not ours, they are fake

How do you encounter him in a way that he trusts the story you tell him about what you have to offer?

I speak the truth.

Revealing of flaws

It is my gift and my intention to give you tangible proof that your flaws are your strengths, your ‘beauty spots’. Your imperfections make you truly accessible to your loved ones and yourself. It is your soft spot.

“Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen

If you can accept that your big hips are beautiful, your daughter may have a chance to accept that her long nose is ‘just right’ too. I believe that self-acceptance is attractive and and self-love, a worthy goal.

When I look at those sweet babies with their brand new crooked teeth and their radiant emotional skin, I get all flushed with amazement.

When I see an old photo of my mother as a young woman, I also feel the same sense of potential and wonder.


You sometimes say, “We don’t put photos of us up on the walls, I don’t want people to think it’s all about us here.”
“Why not?” If your home and your life isn’t ‘all about us’, then what is it about?

When you make the choice to have your family relationships documented, to be seen, to become art, you are sending a very clear message. You are telling your community, but most importantly, your children… “Our family and the way we interact is something we cultivate and celebrate, and yes, even spend money on and then proudly display for everyone to see!”

By choosing to make images that show your family interacting in real ways instead of polished and perfect poses you demonstrate a respect for authenticity and by putting it on the wall, you are telling the world that your life IS art. That the ways you love and the choices you make everyday are the way you live your art.


I often hear, “Getting photos done is so expensive!!”

There are some things in my life that I will spend money on because I value them. When I want to purchase a winter coat, I want one that will last, that will be classic, that won’t fall apart at the seams, so I invest. I look around, I compare prices, but ultimately I will not buy the cheap one, the lowest priced one. I will buy the coat that has sticking power. It will probably cost more than I want to spend but I will know that it is worth it, because of the materials, the design and the thought that went into it’s creation and the lifespan of the product.

I invest in quality that reflects my taste and style and the way I live my life.

When you are considering the expense and value of your portraits, take into consideration some of those same things:

The design– the style of capturing images

The materials– how well are final products made

The thought that goes into it– the life experience and inspiration of the creator

Lifespan– how long the product will be relevant

I really want you to buy what can afford, but buy the right thing, not the cheap thing.
If you can only afford one photo of your family, please make sure it is worth it.

What change are you trying to make in him, his life, or his story?

There are people in my community who strive to be open, authentic and loving.
I want them to know that Kyle Zimmerman Photography is a safe place for them to be vulnerable, imperfectly beautiful and real!
I want to attract those people by shining a light on our gifts, our methods and our beliefs.
I want my clients to know that we are their partner in that goal.

Please come let us see you this holiday season.


 Seth Godin’s Ted Talk on Tribes

Brene Brown’s Ted Talk on Vulnerability

Finding the Deeper Beauty

When I lived in Greece I spent almost all of my time building my fashion portfolio and career. I worked hard, photographing almost every model I could, my goal to show them more beautiful than the next photographer. I was competitive. We all were. I learned that one of my strengths was to be able to look deeply into these beautiful creatures and find something more. I looked for the spirit, the depth, the inner beauty.

I worked with an amazing team of creative souls, curated by Thanos Kyriakides, now a well loved designer, then a fashion stylist working with a variety of magazines and clients. It was with him that the concepts and creativity would bloom. We depended on Eva Dimoveli for her INCREDIBLE make-up artistry… she also became my soul sister and friend.  Trifonas Samaris, the most out-of-the-box hair stylist EVER… would come up with ideas that blew us away and together we would all work together to make images that, at the time were examples of forward thinking fashion.


Beautiful woman stands on a road with an orange sky

Fashion photo by Kyle Zimmerman for Cosmopolitan Magazine- Greece 1992

Fashion Photography in Avila, Spain 1991

Fashion Photographer Kyle Zimmerman in Avila, Spain

Fashion Photographer Kyle Zimmerman in Avila, Spain 2


When I was living in Spain, one of the magazines we worked with wanted to do the fashion editorial in Avila, a beautiful place about 70 miles west of Madrid. We took Agnes, a beautiful American model and a whole talented hair and make-up crew. I remember the walls. They were the old, very old and yellow and so high and they surrounded the little city completely. This is how Wiki describes it and how I remember it…

Its main monument is the imposing Walls of Ávila (11th-14th centuries), the medieval work was started in 1090. The fenced area is of 31 hectares with a perimeter of approximately 2,516 meters, 88 blocks or semicircular towers, 2,500 merlons, paintings by 3 m. thick, an average height of 12 m. and 9 gates. It is the largest fully illuminated monument in the world.

This is the view from the outside of the city. Amazing!

It was a fast and furious shoot, we had eight shots to do in one day, I worked quickly even though I was doing an alternative process at the time, cross processing my film.

Cross processing is when you develop your film with different chemistry than is intended. It takes practice to come up with formulas that can be consistent and you have to shoot the film with adjustments to allow for the ‘wrong’ chemicals.

I loved cross processing my film because I could come up with very unique ‘looks’ and color shifts that felt very personal to me. I have always thought of film as if it were paint. The emulsions were/are so varied and emotional. With film you can have watercolors or oil paint, pop art or impressionism.

The real work in becoming a digital photographer is finding ways to bring that emotional quality and variance back to our images, without emulsions…