By Jesselyn Russo
They say tragedy can shape who you are as a person and carve your future. Few know that better than local business owner Kris Zurbas who took his personal tragedy and made it into something beautiful — literally.
Three years after Kris and his family moved to Mesquite, Nevada they were in a horrific car accident involving a drunk driver on the interstate. His family was okay, but Kris suffered major injuries.
“Everyone thought I was dead,” Kris said. “I was unresponsive and covered in blood.”
Kris was in a coma for seven days. He shattered his nose, right cheekbone, and his right eye orbit, resulting in the loss of vision in that eye. His jaw was fractured and had to be wired shut. He couldn’t walk. He suffered a severe concussion, with swelling and bruising on his brain. Over the course of six weeks, Kris not only healed from his physical injuries but his soul as well, telling himself he would never take anything for granted.
“The accident opened up my eye to the way I saw things,” Kris chuckled. “Really though, I noticed things I never took the time to notice before.”
And so grew his love for photography.
Although Kris had been interested in photography for a number of years, it wasn’t until after his accident that his interest grew into a passion.
“Photography, aside from making me appreciate the world, also helps me forget about any worries or stress that I might have,” he said.
Kris started out doing landscape and scenery photography. In an environment such as Mesquite, it’s no wonder Kris found so much beauty in it.
“It’s amazing how we take our sight for granted and just glance at things instead of really looking at the colors, shapes and textures,” Kris said.
Kris formed his business, MVP Productions. Affectionately referred to as the “Eureka Historian,” he does a lot of work for the Eureka Casino Resort, whom he credits and thanks for his success in photography.
“I would especially like to thank Andre Carrier and Greg Lee for their encouragement and sponsoring me to photography classes and seminars,” Kris said.
While working with the Eureka, Kris has shot photos for several events, including the recently remodeled Rising Star Sports Ranch.
Never one to be shy, Kris gladly took on new challenges to produce the best quality work for the Eureka and the Rising Star.
Kris produced an incredible time-lapse video of the 30,000 square foot facility called “The Barn” being built. Since then, he has also become efficient in shooting sports photos, from baseball, soccer, and lacrosse, to volleyball and basketball. He also photographs the Nevada Desert Dogs, Mesquite’s professional basketball team.
Kris passed his FAA unmanned aircraft test and received his drone license in March 2017.
“Photos from above give even the most common things a whole new perspective,” Kris said. “It’s an amazing feeling to fly the drone and take pictures and videos that you would only take by renting a small plane or helicopter just a few short years ago. “
Kris’s hard work and keen eye for new angles does not go unnoticed, whether by community members or other photographers. While at events, Kris said he tries to venture away from where other photographers are standing to capture photos no one else will have. One year, while covering the ParaLong Drive, Kris noticed he had a shadow other than his own.
“I kept looking behind me and there was this guy following me around,” Kris said. “He finally said he was following me because he could see I was getting the good shots no one else was. He was actually with the Golf Channel, so that was a pretty great compliment to me.”
Due to so many requests from friends, Kris is looking to expand his business to include portraits. Anyone who is friends with Kris on social media, knows he has an excellent test subject for portraits and family photos, his daughter Athina. Kris said it’s fun for him to see her grow and to have all her different stages in life documented.
Twelve-year-old Athina is photographed continuously by her loving father. Her bubbly personality and adorable smile make every picture heartwarming. Whether she’s eating breakfast, exploring, playing around, or taking photos herself, it is easy to see Athina takes an interest in her dad’s passion. She has even started doing some of her own photography work, thanks to guidance and help from her dad.
“The coolest thing my dad has shown me is probably how to get better angles of flowers and other pictures I take,” she said.
Kris said she’s really developing an eye for it.
To Kris, photos are like souvenirs. “I would rather have a photo on the wall instead of a coffee mug,” he said. “Photos are magical, they can take you back to a place or time and you can relive the feelings and emotions you had.”
Be sure to check out Kris’s business card near the back of the magazine if you are interested in scheduling an appointment with him.
“Get out there and have fun,” he said. “Life is too short and it can change in an instant!”
View On Magazine appreciates all of the beautiful photo contributions from Kris Zurbas throughout the years.