We hired Justin Graziano to explore and shoot the cover of this March/April 2022 issue of Zymurgy magazine. He has shot beer for years now and was super excited to see what could be done to highlight the top ingredients you will read about in the features. Justin dropped us some behind-the-scenes photos and editor-in-chief Dave Carpenter asked Justin a few questions …
Where do you live?
I am currently located in Santa Clarita, Calif., but prior to living here, I was located in Denver, Colo., for about three years, where I really learned about craft beer and the community that surrounds it.
How did you become a photographer?
Before I was a photographer, I was a graphic designer for more than 10 years, and I bought my first camera just as another creative outlet. I had no clue about cameras or even how to use them, but I knew it was something I really wanted to learn. I started by taking pictures of beer because I always loved label artwork, and I was already taking pictures of beer with my phone to check into Untappd, so it was an easy starting point. It quickly became an obsession, and my mind started to drift further and further into photography to the point that I knew I had to figure out how to make a career out of it. When I moved to Denver, that’s when I was really able to spread my wings as a photographer working for small, independent breweries all over town. Now, I am currently working as a full-time content creator for The Bruery and freelancing on the side!
What is the inspiration for your craft?
I’ve always been inspired by storytelling, so I always do my best to tell a story through my photography, whether it’s with props, ingredients, or setting a mood with lighting. When I’m photographing beer, I want the viewer to taste what they’re seeing. So props and ingredients have always been key elements to my photography.
What is your connection to homebrewing and craft beer?
When I started drinking craft beer, it was pretty much the same thing as when I started becoming interested in photography. I became pretty obsessed with trying as many new beers as I could, and I was pretty intrigued by the process of making beer. When I heard that you could make beer from home, I immediately jumped online and bought my first 5-gallon homebrew kit and an AHA membership. I quickly learned that I am much better at drinking it than at brewing it! But the one thing that really connected me into craft beer had to be community. My wife and I always loved to go to new breweries and to sit at the bar to chat with the beertenders. We’ve made many great friends through it, and it’s definitely a hobby that I am thankful for! It has opened up many opportunities for me.
How long have you been homebrewing?
I started homebrewing back in 2015 and I was brewing pretty consistently for about two years, but when I moved into a smaller apartment it became harder to do, so I slowed down a bit, but I occasionally still brew small 1-gallon batches for fun!
What is your favorite beer style or favorite beer to brew?
I’ve always been a hoppy beer lover, but when it comes to homebrewing, I’ve always loved making stouts.
Are there any Easter eggs or other details in the cover photo you’d like to draw our attention to?
One thing to point out is something you may not be able to see. The way I shoot these photos is by shooting each element in the photo individually and then combining them in Photoshop afterwards. It can be pretty challenging to make these photos look seamless, but I think it makes for a pretty fun and dynamic image!
* * *