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Seeing the World Through a Camera Lens with ZoomWorks Photography

By S. Mathur

"To show others the world as I see it."
"To point out the beauty in the everyday."
"Finding the stories, capturing the moments, showing the overlooked beauty."

For ZoomWorks Photography owners, Shannah Cahoe Montgomery & Marisu Wehrenberg, these are some of the reasons why they shoot photographs. And also why they would continue to shoot photographs even if it wasn't the way they make their living.

Looking through the ZoomWorks portfolio, which includes personal portraits, weddings, lifestyle pictures, commercial and fine art and nature photography, raises the old question: does the photographer show the beauty that's out there or does she actually help to create it? Whatever the answer, and everyone will have a different one, there are plenty of good reasons to hire a professional photographer for important events.

Montgomery and Wehrenberg feel that a professional photographer brings both vision and experience to recording the event: "What you're hiring when you choose a professional is someone that is prepared for the 'what if's'. Someone who can discuss understand your vision and make it come to life. If it is indeed an important event, you want someone who comes prepared, with backups of equipment, insurance and an approach to the project as a job, not a hobby."

The duo founded ZoomWorks more than sixteen years ago. Wehrenberg recalls her introduction to photography while working as a stylist for fashion photographers: "Being so close to the 'magic' of creating images it seemed natural to me to take the next step and begin to shoot for myself. I had always been moved by the photographs of others and thought perhaps I could do the same." Montgomery discovered as a Fine Arts major at the University of Cincinnati that "Photography was the perfect medium for me. It combined my love of creative storytelling with the ability to create beautiful imagery."

They met in 2000, and discovered that they shared a love for the medium and a vision. They also brought entirely different skill sets to the studio, which is another asset. The studio space, located in the historic Whitehall Mill Lofts on the east side of Athens, Georgia, overlooks the Oconee River. High ceilings, exposed brick walls and lots of natural light make it a unique workspace. They also do shoots "on location", indoors and out.

The studio offers photography classes for adult beginners and at the intermediate level. The Get out of Auto class covers the basics and teaches problem solving to those who have invested in an SLR camera but don't quite know their way around it. It also helps people who need to take photographs in their professional lives, but don't know anything about photography. For photography professionals, consultations and one-on-one mentoring help to advance their skills and careers.

ZoomWorks is also very connected to the local community through fundraising for charities. Animal shelters are an especially favored cause. Wehrenberg herself lives on a sprawling farms full of rescues: dogs, cats, horses and the occasional chicken.

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