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Meet Zane Meyer-Thornton of ZaneMT Photography in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zane Meyer-Thornton.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Zane. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Four years ago, I was in a weird place in my life. I felt lost. A year out of high school and no idea what to do. The only thing that I truly enjoyed doing was playing video games. I decided moving from Los Angeles to a small town called Rocklin, just north of Sacramento, might help me find some direction. I was in my second semester at Sierra College and decided to go a Call of Duty tournament in Ontario, California to see some old friends.

While I was there, I decided exchange Instagram’s with a long time friend, Nick (@n.suda). He’s from New York City and his page is filled with photos of dilapidated buildings and rooftop views. I was immediately blown away and decided then I wanted to save up for a camera.

A few months later, I bought my first DSLR and enrolled in an intro to photography class. I was enjoying learning this new skill and figured I might as well try and pursue it. So, I decided to head back to LA and continue my schooling at Santa Monica College (SMC). My first semester there I enrolled in a photography class for the student newspaper, The Corsair, and thats when everything started to come together. The classes environment made learning incredibly easy and fun and I began progressing at a rapid rate. I spent four semesters involved with The Corsair and I attribute a lot of my success to my time there.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve had a few things to work through, but looking back my growth in photography is pretty linear. It makes sense. First and foremost, anything artistic takes time. You have to put the work in. I had to do a lot of free assignments to build portfolios, which can be hard to balance with school, work, and normal life. It can be pretty discouraging. Next was just overly comparing myself to others.

I worked with a lot of really talented photographers and sometimes we would all cover the same assignment. I found myself feeling like I always had something to prove which led me to reassess my approach to the situation. It’s not a competition or some sport, it’s just how we view the world. Now, I just try to focus on my own growth.

Please tell us about ZaneMT Photography.
I’m a photojournalist and documentary photographer. I tell peoples stories through images because I feel visuals are the most universal language. Emotional images have the power to invoke the same feelings in everyone, despite language barriers. I’m most proud of my work documenting members of the Central American Migrant Caravan as heavy rainfalls forced them to move from a shelter set up at Benito Juarez Sports Complex to a makeshift shelter at an old night club called El Barretal on the outskirts of Tijuana, Mexico.

I’m most proud of this work because documenting situations and telling the stories of people like this is what I want to do for my life’s work. I don’t think I’m known for anything right now. I still have a long way to go and at the end of the day I’m still new to all of this. I think something that is unique to me is that I’m just a naturally observant person. Even before I thought of owning a camera, I was always identifying characters and scenes as life unfolded. The rest is just lighting, camera controls, and patience.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Any time spent with my mother.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @ZaneMT
  • Twitter: @zmtphoto

Image Credit:
Zane Meyer-Thornton

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