George Zastrow, Photographer
Updated: Oct 15
George Scott Zastrow has lived in the Russian River Valley for almost
50 years and has been taking photos since the age of 10, first with a
camera gifted from his grandmother.
George has deservedly won many awards throughout the Bay Area for
his work. While some of his work are local images, like the barn on
Slusser Road he also is a world traveler. His most recent work has
been shot in Southeast Asia where he lives half the year.
There is a wide array of style and subject in George's work, landscape
and nature photography to portrait and travel photography. “I enjoy the
travel, things that are foreign to the American eye” says George.
George’s travel to Thailand each year isn’t only about photography. He
is a sitting board member of an NGO called ALL FOR VILLAGES (Click
here for more information) that helps villages in Thailand to rebuild their
infrastructure. Much of their work is focused on the Moken tribe, for
whom they’ve built a school and are currently raising funds to build a
bridge which would give the Moken children much easier access to
attend school regularly.
Another photograph from Thailand that is quite different from anything
found in this country is a pile of skulls facing the camera. The
photograph was taken in Cambodia in one of the many Killing Fields.
This concerns the atrocity that occurred in the mid to late seventies
where more than a million people were murdered in a state-sponsored
genocide. His photography is full of stories both about how the photo
was taken, but also the history behind the image.
He also loves to photograph stunning coastal sunsets with a red sky
painted with clouds that resemble temples. He says that everyone in his
Thai neighborhood comes together on the beach for sunset each
George also manipulates some of his many images. I asked him to tell
me about it and he told me, in particular, how he did it and the story
behind it. I’m not going to tell you what he said because I’ll let George
do that. “People come in and ask me, “What is that?” and I tell them a
story. That’s what I like to do. I like to tell stories.”
You can see George Scott Zastrow’s work at the Russian River Art
Gallery, 16357 Main Street in downtown Guerneville. If you want to see
some truly beautiful photography from both the Russian River Valley
and Southeast Asia and hear the story behind them, George is usually
at the gallery on Fridays…unless he’s on the beach in Thailand with his
Interview by Michael Rex, Russian River Books and Letters