Kill the Photographer

Bil Zelman's Experiment in Discretionless Curation

Category: Behind the Scenes

Behind the scenes with the San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers asked me to shoot some reportage of their training camp via my old pal Peter Judd at Hub Strategy.  Here’s a taste.     

Albert Watson honored my book “Isolated Gesture” with an Art Directors Club Award

“Dusk through Dawn” at the Portland Museum of Art.

While shooting a commercial in Portland, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I have multiple pieces in a fantastic show at the museum – Also included are works by Garry Winogrand, Robert Doisneau, Ansel Adams, Minor White, Chris McCaw, Peter Henry Emerson, Edward Weston, Edward Steichen and many others. If you are in the area, please […]

Lürzer’s Archives Best 200 Photographers Worldwide

My father, the scientist, who gave me that camera when I was nine.

PDN Pulse Video – Bil Zelman on How to Shoot Ads That Look Real (Not Staged)

“Photographer Bil Zelman specializes in shooting lifestyle advertising for top brands such as Coke, Apple and Budweiser that looks real, not staged. Getting natural, emotionally genuine performances out of talent is one of the biggest challenges for advertising photographers, but Zelman has spent his career honing his skill. In this video, he describes how he […]

PDN Pulse Video – Bil Zelman on Shooting Portraits of Difficult Celebrity Subjects

“Celebrities can be skittish and uncooperative in front of a camera, so photographer Bil Zelman sometimes uses psychology to elicit a particular reaction for a compelling portrait. In this video, he describes how he calmed author Isabel Allende, who was self-conscious in front of the camera, and how he got himself out of trouble on […]

PDN Pulse Video – Bil Zelman On Directing Kids on Advertising Shoots

“Photographer Bil Zelman explains how he used psychology (and magic) to get emotionally genuine performances from kids for two recent advertising shoots. Zelman specializes in shooting lifestyle advertising for top brands such as Coke, Apple and Budweiser that looks real, not staged. In a previous video, he shared tips and tricks he uses to coax […]

Jim Beam campaign launches!

Wonderful interview with Art Buying superstar Josette Lata about our recent shoot for Jim Beam with StrawberryFrog. Check it out here.

Smashbox finally got me that chair I’ve wanted for so long-

Location scouting- Another shitty day in the office.


A quiet evening-

Phone interview with Sherry Riad regarding “KCRW Diaries”.

Click “Vimeo” link in lower right of video to view in full resolution.

Finally got that stunt double.

Press proofing the new book. Astounding.

Shooting, filming and eating our way across Europe on the MS Windows Phone campaign .

A fantastic couple of weeks with superstar producer Starla Stroh and filmmaker Patrick Wright. Footage shot and edited by Patrick Wright and a special thank you to him for keeping me awake during that mad 22 hour drive across Germany.

Recording with the White Rabbits-

Jóhann Jóhannsson

Genius composer Jóhann Jóhannsson playing for KCRW, at The Village studio Los Angeles.

Jason Segel- I love you man!

The Shins recording for Sony Music at famed Village (Studio) in Los Angeles-

Brian Unger is a serious man.

Bil’s Really Bad At Backing Up

no Santas were harmed in the making of our film-

White Denim at KCRW, Los Angeles

The many faces of Kristen Wiig.

Ten new portfolios- Fresh smell of ink.

Anything for the shot.

In the offices of Tony Hawk-

Corrida de Toros. No mixed feelings here.

El Mirage dry lake bed racing

Rode the motorcycle out and camped on the flats with a few good friends-

Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore with KCRW Los Angeles.


Shoot-Edit. Repeat.

London rain on the way to lunch with Publicis-

Patagonia with Sebastian Copeland and Factory Design Labs for Revo

The many dangers of open casting calls off of craigslist-

Casting was for “real people” and someone sent us this photo.  Running wagers around the studio on whether or not he’s wearing pants. You rock masked man!

Returning a prop at the airport in Seattle. Shit.