Tom Zimberoff founded both Vertex Software, Inc., the original publisher of PhotoByte® software, and Exactly Vertical, Inc. He has become an authority on the topic of business automation for commercial photographic applications, contributing articles to Photo District News and Communication Arts, teaching seminars at universities and trade schools such as RIT and the Art Institute of Atlanta, and speaking at workshops across the country. He is the author of Photography: Focus on Profit published by Allworth Press, the first college-level textbook about the business side of photography. But for more than two decades before that his portraits of celebrities, scholars, artists, business magnates, and politicians, including two American Presidents were regularly published in magazines throughout the world. As an accomplished commercial photographer, his work was also featured in advertising campaigns and in the annual reports of many Fortune 500 companies.
Zimberoff was born in Los Angeles in 1951. He was raised there and in Las Vegas, Nevada. As proficient with a clarinet as with a camera, he succumbed to the lure of photography while studying music at the USC School of Performing Arts. “Portrait photography,” he says, “is a predatory sport. Like a big-game hunter I stalk my prey, look for a good clean shot, and try to avoid unnecessary wounds. I hang their heads on a wall to admire like trophies.”
Having begun his career in rock-and-roll photography, touring with famous bands, he moved over to television and motion picture stills for advertising. After that he embarked on a career in photojournalism, spending several years in, among many other places, Central America working for Time and other magazines as a member’ of the Sygma Photo Agency and, later, Gamma-Liaison. His photographs have appeared on the covers of Time, Fortune, Money, People, and numerous other magazines worldwide. Most recently, Zimberoff has produced and hosted the pilot for American Photo on TV, a television series in conjunction with the magazine of the same name, which is currently in development. His most recent book, the best-selling Art of the Chopper, represents the first time he’s picked up his cameras after a ten-year hiatus.
Zimberoff portraits are found in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery in Lon¬don, the Israel Museum in Tel Aviv, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC, the Oakland Museum, the Los Angeles Public Library, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Canton Art Institute in Ohio, the San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum, as well as several corporate collections and university libraries. His first two portrait subjects were Marx and Lennon—that’s Groucho and John, of course.
About the business side of wielding a camera Zimberoff likes to say, “If you’ve got nothing but talent, you’ve got no business in photography!”