BRIAN “BZ” ZELANDI

BRIAN “BZ” ZELANDI

Growing up in Milford, Massachusetts it was hard to standout as an individual. In the seventh grade I picked up a skateboard because I saw one small group of kids in my hometown that were skateboarding. Eleven years later I live in Huntington Beach, California with all the same friends I admired when I was a kid. It all started back when my mom and aunts bought me my first camera for my 15th birthday at Skaters Edge in Taunton, MA. I quit all other sports and fell in love with filming/editing videos of our local, small-town crew. Skateboarding became my only interest and hobby, and as I got older I realized Massachusetts didn’t have much for me and my passion for skateboarding.

The road was not easy but I came to Cali in 2013 and attended film school at OCC while working retail for Quiksilver and interning at DC Shoes. Fast-forward five years, I can’t believe how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished. I run the Digital Media Program for Woodward West during the Summer, a place I had always dreamed of attending while I was a kid. I’m teaching kids photography and video, the same things I was passionate about when I was their age.

You can catch me around Orange County skateboarding and taking videos/photos. @bzillaaa

“BZ is one of the coolest, most down to earth people I have ever met! On top of that he is focused, dedicated and passionate about skateboarding, which makes us life long friends. Keep killing it Brian, excited to see where your ambitions take you.”

– Anthony Shetler

“I’ve seen a lot of people try to pursue this dream and it always comes down to how passionate you really are. BZ is 100% passion and that’s why he is gonna make it.”

– Chris Ray

interview / zach boetto

How did you get into photography?
I always had a video camera growing up and pretty much as soon as I went to Woodward I figured out how to really shoot photos.

Why did you decide to move to California?
I was working in a warehouse in Massachusetts after high school that had nothing going for me and I decided I wanted to go to college in California after vacationing in California with my friend Stefan Lundberg.

What’s your favorite photo you have even taken?
The photo I took of David Reyes doing a backside nose blunt on an 8-stair rail at Woodward West. After I took that, I realized I was pretty good at this and I could be a good photographer. It’s that photo that made me realize I could do photography.

Who or what inspired you to become a photographer?
I’ve always had a passion for skateboarding and I felt like shooting photos was a part of me and it’s a part of skating.

What do you look for when taking a photo?
I try to see cool spots that would look good and I also look for my skaters to be comfortable. I mess around with different angles while they’re trying the trick and I switch angles about 20 times to try to see the moment like how I grew up seeing photos in magazines.

What kind of car do you drive?
I drive a 2007 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg.

What is your favorite deck to skate?
Right now, I’m skating a Zero team deck.

What is your favorite camera to shoot with?
Probably my 70-D.

What is your favorite lens?
I have a fish eye lens I bought for $120 and it does the job – I think it’s an Opteka.

What do you like to skate?
I mainly like to skate rails, flat ground and lines.

What is your favorite skate trick?
Probably a varial heel flip.

What do you always buy at the gas station?
Usually gas… and a Hubert Lemonade.

What is your pet peeve?
I hate feeling rushed, overwhelmed or late.

What made you move to California? What was the turning point?
I didn’t want to work in Boston anymore and I knew if I wanted to pursue skateboarding I had to move out to California.

What is your favorite candy?
Airheads.

What is your favorite city?
That’s hard… probably Boston because I’m from there and if I didn’t say that my friends would give me shit. Also, anywhere in Orange County, I love O.C.

What is your favorite city to skate?
Downtown Tempe, Arizona.

What is your sign?
I’m an Aries.

What is your spirit animal?
Oh god, probably something on an island…

What is your favorite fashion trend of 2018?
Toe cap shoes.

What fashion trend needs to be left in 2017?
Colored camo pants.

What skate trick needs to be left in 2017?
Manuals.

Who will win Street League this year?
Honestly, I don’t know. I havent watched in a long time but I’m assuming if Nyjah is in the mix he will probably win.

Who will win SOTY 2018?
It’s too early to tell but they’re going to have to be crazy.

Who has the best 360 flip in the game?
I always like Mike Mo’s Tre flip.

Who has the best laser flip in the game?
Manny Santiago.

Which city has the best nightlife in OC/LA?
Downtown HB is fun, Newport is fun.

Do you shoot other sports?
Yeah, any action sport, BMX, mountain biking and surfing.

What is your favorite thing to shoot outside of skating?
Lifestyle photos on 35mm film.

What was your first break?
Woodward West learning from Grant Brittain, Travis Mortz and Shelby Grimnes.

Who would you like to shoot with or for?
Outside of skating, musicians and rappers.

Are you sponsored?
No sponsors… yet.

Where are you from?
Milford, Massachusetts.

Where do you live now?
Huntington Beach, CA.

Have you ever been injured?
Yes, dislocated my elbow – flat ground landed primo and shot out.

What advice would you give a kid trying to get into photography?
You don’t even need the most expensive equipment, just a basic camera setup with manual settings and a good flash and you’re good.