Background

I’m Zlatko, a photographer based in Cresskill, New Jersey, about ten miles from New York City. I’ve been photographing professionally since 2002.

I’m originally from the island of Korčula on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. My unusual name is derived from the word zlato, which means gold. When I was little, I also lived in Sweden for a few years, before moving to New Jersey at the age of six.

How I started in photography

I’ve had a life-long love of the arts, especially the visual arts. Drawing was my greatest passion before photography. In high school I photographed for the school newspaper and yearbook. Spending many hours in the darkroom, I learned to develop film and craft black & white prints.

Education

I attended N.Y.U. for a year, including a class with a Manhattan portrait photographer. I transferred to the University of Chicago, where I earned a degree in philosophy and also took classes in photography, aesthetics and art history. I earned a J.D. degree at Cornell, where I continued my photography and had a photo exhibit at the student union art gallery.

How I began photographing weddings

I was inspired by the work of Denis Reggie. Denis is known for moving wedding photography toward a more natural style known as wedding photojournalism. In 2002, I traveled to his studio in Atlanta for a 4-day workshop on digital wedding photography. I then began photographing weddings part-time, and have been full-time since 2004.

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What makes my photography different

I value authentic moments and authentic emotions above all. For me, the magic of photography is how it draws from reality and transports us to a time, place and feeling — more vividly than our memories do. Our memories of events sometimes even merge with our photos of those events. As a result, authentic documentary photos hold a special value for me. I love good portraits, but I love unposed photos just as much! That’s why so many of the photos in my Wedding Portfolios are unposed moments.

My style

Authentic, artistic, inspired. I strive for all three:

Authentic: I love photos that authentically represent the way things looked and felt, without being over-stylized. Wedding photography has had many trends that came and went. When I look at wedding photos of past generations, I see that the photos that captured real moments tend to look timeless and beautiful, while photos that were over-stylized with effects tend to look dated. I hope you’ll see in my photos a natural style:  creative, but not forced. I feel that photography works best when it is the art of real moments. When shooting, I’m genuinely unobtrusive. I have a low-key, quiet personality that fits in easily at a wedding or other event. I try to be an attentive observer — capturing real moments as they happen.

Artistic: I also love photography that is consciously artistic and not necessarily a dry representation of reality. The rules of photojournalism don’t apply in wedding photography. So there is room for artistic interpretation and for emphasis on beauty, aesthetics and style over just plain showing of facts.

Inspired:  I’m inspired by my subjects being themselves.  I’m also inspired by various arts, including photography, painting, movies, music, fashion and architecture.

About portraits

When doing portraits I am in a different mode than when doing photojournalism. Portraits generally involve some direction, or at least collaboration with subjects. But even when giving direction I try to maintain an awareness of the spontaneous and unplanned. My direction often has to do with moving the subjects within the setting and the lighting.  Direction may also relate to efficiency, style and meaning. I try to avoid anything that looks cheesy or awkward. Although portraits make up a small portion of wedding photos, they’re important for family historical purposes. I’ve written a page about portraits at weddings — with many examples (link).

Other types of photography

In addition to personal photography, I photograph various special events including bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, birthdays, corporate events and charity events. Since 2013, I’ve photographed many openings and events at Milk Gallery in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The gallery exhibited the work of noted photographers in photojournalism, art and fashion, and attracted many celebrity guests. My page titled Art & Fashion Events (link) shows some of this photography. 

I’m a member of Dwellsy Lightbox, a resource for professionals who provide photography to real estate agents and property managers.

Teaching photography

I occasionally offer personal photography lessons (link). In 2011-2013, I helped author and fashion designer Carolyne Roehm transition to digital photography. Ms. Roehm is the author of more than ten books on topics such as gardening, interior decorating, flower arranging and party planning.

Distinctions

A wedding guest made this photo of me. The unusual shapes are part of the instant film.
Shenorock Shore Club’s weddings & events brochure features my photos.
Selfie in a mirror back in high school.

Location

I’m based in Cresskill, New Jersey (red pin on the map), about 10 miles from northern Manhattan.

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