Behind the lens
Local photographer Zach Lasee explores his inspiration and creative path
By Rachel Sankey
Green Bay native Zach Lasee didn’t get a camera in his hands until after his senior year of high school.
“I was just hanging out with one of my buddies who had had a camera for a while. He was always in graphic design, and being creative and stuff,” Lasee said. “He was like, ‘Yo, let’s go shoot some photos,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, I’ve never done it.’ But it was immediate. I was like, ‘Oh, I kind of get this, and like this.’”
Two weeks later, he purchased his own camera.
“I didn’t know I had a photography eye my entire life up until a few years ago,” Lasee said.
At the time, Lasee considered it a hobby, though he said he knew it went deeper than that. He started at UW-Whitewater for Biology with an emphasis in Chiropractics but transferred to UW-Eau Claire after his freshman year. During his first semester of sophomore year, Lasee took a photography class to fill a general requirement. By the end of the semester, he said his professor was urging him to switch his degree.
“She told me that I had to change my plan. She was like, ‘You got to pursue this. You’re wasting your time and talent not doing it. And now we’re here,” Lasee said.
After his professor’s encouragement, Lasee changed his major to Liberal Studies, but said more specifically Digital Media, which he started, since there was not a specific digital media degree at Eau Claire.
Although Lasee has been in photography for nearly six years now, he said he started taking it more seriously within the past year. He said he’s drawn to things in the world that are natural.
“I think there’s a lot of stuff in our daily lives. Just little things that are beautiful to me, it could be the way the sun hits off a building in a certain way, or like moments in our daily lives that will happen only for like a split second. That’s the stuff I’m drawn to,” Lasee said.
Lasee said he also has a particular interest in older cars and has taken photos of the ones he’s come across in Green Bay.
“They just have a lot more story to it,” Lasee said. “I’m not gonna take a photo of a 2021 Tesla, that has no story behind it. These old cars, they’re in such good shape. These people care about them and take care of them, and I dig that.”
During his junior year of college, Lasee was presented with an opportunity to shoot a video for a fitness gym his roommate worked at. It was his first time shooting a video. Now, he does more video work than photography. Lasee said he shoots mainly music videos and promotional videos for brand businesses. Lasee’s portfolio also includes live music and sports photography.
Green Bay’s art scene
Since exploring his photographic interest and career, Lasee said the Green Bay arts community has shown him nothing but love.
“There’s a lot of unseen talent here,” Lasee said. “There are a lot of creative people, a lot of hungry people that I think once some eyes get turned here, people will be surprised, the talent that’s here.”
However, he said has received judgment from some for his passion. Lasee said that people thought that his getting into photography was lame and cringy and that it wouldn’t make a good career.
“Photography was the first thing since any sport that I picked up that felt right,” Lasee said. “For so long, people were like, ‘He’s just an average guy.’ And now I’ve had more and more people come back around and be like, ‘Wow, you’ve actually done more cool stuff than I ever thought you would.’ I think people thought I was trying to be something that I’m not, really they just didn’t know who I was actually deep down, and (photography) hits more than anything.”
Lasee said his long-time goal is to eventually make his photography his career.
“I’ve progressed a lot in the past year, and I’m happy about getting closer and closer to the end products that I’ve envisioned,” Laser said. “I feel like I have more knowledge about this stuff than it shows yet.”
Rachel Sankey is an Arts and Entertainment Reporter for Green Bay City Pages. She can be reached via email at [email protected]