American Photo Magazine USA–“CENTURY 21” THE NEXT GENERATION
Up and coming photographer, JULY/AUGUST, 1995

Figuring out who the new stars of an art form are is a relatively simple matter. You look around at magazines and galleries, listen to industry buzz, and make some logical assumptions. Putting your finger on the stars of the future-the art-world darlings and hot commercial photographers of the 21st Century- is harder because these are young visionaries few people have heard of. There is a solution, when the art under consideration is photography, which has traditionally trained its craftsman through an apprenticeship system.

For this special issue we decided to gaze into photography’s future by looking at the work and lives of ten young people who are either currently assisting professional photographers or have done so recently. We found them is a talent search in which we asked more than 100 established professionals to nominate assistants who’ve worked for them and shown the potential to achieve great things. The winners range in age from the mid-20’s to late 30’s, from backgrounds in
Europe, Texas, Australia, and points in between. Some are still assisting; others have already struck out on their own. In one way or another, however, they’ve already begun their climb to the top. Write down their names. You’ll undoubtedly be hearing more about them soon.

Gino Zardo-suggested by Sante D’Orazio

Even though Gino Zardo discovered photography at the age of 16, his career has hardly taken a straight and narrow path. Originally “from a small country town” In Australia, Zardo, now 26, tried on piethora of job titles after high school, including hospital dietitian and pilot. “When you’re 18 you don’t know what you want to do,” says Zardo, laughing, “but you think you can do everything. You name it, and I was giving it a go.” Eventually, he realized that photography was his true love and moved to Sydney, where he assisted an advertising and still-life photographer.

When that job and other opportunities dried up Down Under, the aspiring photographer decided to try his luck in America. Originally headed for New York, he turned a short stopover in L.A. into a semi-permanent stay. There he worked for the likes of Neil Preston, Annie Leibovitz, Michael Comte and Wayne Maser. “My fist editorial job assisting was for Wayne Maser, who was shooting for vogue,” recalls Zardo, “so it wasn’t a bad scene.” But New York still beckoned. “ I knew that I wanted to do fashion at that time.” He says, “and I knew that New York was the place to be.”

After arriving in New York via a cross-country motorcycle trip, Zardo began furiously networking. He was hired by Sante D’Orazio and became his first assistant for a year. “The whole experience was great,” says Zardo. “Working with Sante made me much more confident photographer.”

Zardo made a return trip to Australia at the beginning of this year to visit family and work on his own photography. He ended up getting some fashion pictures published in Mode, an Australian fashion magazine, and some underwater nudes in a publication called Black + White. Despite the success, Zardo recently returned to New York-even though it meant assisting again. “The beach weather in Australia wasn’t that great anyway.”