Cory Zimmerman studied Fine Arts, Photography, Filmmaking and Creative Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Santa Fe University of Art & Design, Southern Illinois University & the University of New Mexico.
Zimmerman uses photography as a medium to communicate human emotions, with the intention of promoting the awareness of interconnectedness. Initially he set out on a global mission traveling the world to document the world’s cultures and their peoples. Then his work evolved in the direction of surveying the social consequences of socio-economic division, which resulted in a personal project and book entitled Down These Mean Streets, where he spent two years traveling the US by bus and rail, living in hostels and cheap hotels, while taking portraits of the residents of some of the roughest neighborhoods of America’s inner cities.
Then Zimmerman moved to Mexico where he lived for two years, and began an ongoing personal project entitled La Grava, capturing gritty nuances of Mexican society, including “the forgotten ones”. On Spet, 19, 2017, he survived the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that devastated the city and much of southern Mexico. He spent the following days and weeks documenting the recovery efforts of a community that had come together to dig survivors out of the more than 40 collapsed buildings across the city. In total, 370 people were killed and over 6000 were injured, but millions of Mexicans were united with pride in their rescue efforts on the global stage, which Zimmerman felt served Mexico well in the fight against unjust propaganda the nation had been forced to endure during the recent US presidential campaign.
While continuing his work in Mexico, Zimmerman visited the make shift refugee camp set up in a sports stadium in Mexico City, to document the first arrival of the migrant caravans in November of 2018. There, he meet a Honduran family with a sick child, and he raised funds and assisted them through Mexico to the US border, where he got them legally across. They now live in Louisiana, and he is assisting them to this day with the difficulties of adjusting to a new society and life. This led to a project entitled Between a Sword & a Wall, a first hand multidimensional account of his experiences with the migrant caravan.
The experience has motivated Zimmerman to focus his lens even more on the global issue of mass migration, its causes and potential solutions. His desire is for his work to take on a poetic essence, in order to capture the human soul within his portraits, with hopes to inspire compassion and empathy. His next project will focus on humanitarian efforts in Central America, with a long term goal to complete an additional project on the settlement of refugees in the United States. Zimmerman has realized the power of the image to inspire cooperation toward humanitarian effort and solutions. Through photography and multimedia, his intention is to capture harsh realities and reproduce them for those whom could never otherwise fathom such human stipulations.
Zimmerman’s pursuit is to experiment with the potential ways photography and humanitarian efforts can work hand in hand in a more effective way to translate to the privalidged first world the insurmountable need for compassion, education and understanding of the consequences of capitalism and colonization on the 3rd world. He believes that there is a dire need to appreciate the difficulty of the decisions people are faced with, when being stuck “between a sword and wall”. In his own words, “We must stick together, and find the common thread that binds us all, and the camera is an invaluable tool, when the intention is to…love, serve and feed the people.” This is his creed.