Photography 05

Zana Lynn Woods

August 16, 1963 ~ March 9, 2022 (age 58)


From August 16, 1963, to March 9, 2022, Zana lived her life fully. She was born to Howard L. and Tollye G. Woods and raised on 46 acres with seven siblings at the base of Pinnacle Mountain in Arkansas. Her early life was filled with country adventures of outdoor play and frolicking through the woods of the mountain, Natural Steps, Pinnacle Valley Road, and the Pankey community. Zana attended school at Pankey Elementary, Woodruff Elementary, and the Joe T. Robinson Schools (Elementary, Junior High, and High). As an active and engaged student, she was an assistant to the Junior Boys Basketball Team, a Southern Belle, and in the Art Club, Spanish Club, Intro-Club Council, Beta Club, and was a runner-up for Miss RHS. She graduated from Robinson High School in 1991 and studied philosophy and finance at Hendrix College and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

 Following high school and college, she moved to San Francisco where she managed the Thomas Heinser commercial photography studio. This was one of her earliest forays into the world of photography, art, and design. Zana then became an art buyer for the advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding, working with the accounts of Levi's Dockers, MTV, and AT&T Wireless. She then took her experience and passion to Wired Magazine where, for over thirteen years, was the director of photography, leading a team of photo and video editors, and focused on environmental and celebrity portraiture, photojournalism, and product photography. Because of her stellar eye, expert editing, and achievement the photography field, Zana won the prestigious Lucie Award for Picture Editor of the Year in 2012.

At Wired Magazine, Zana kept the door open for others. She advocated for an inclusive and diverse environment at the magazine and fought for others in the industry. With her friend and co-worker, George McCalman, Zana started the Black Brunch Club in San Francisco and continued an extension of it in New York.

In 2013, she returned to New York City and worked as a freelance producer, creative and photo consultant, and photo editor specializing in advertising and editorial still photography, editorial and music videos, and photo editing. Her clients included Droga5, Maven Communications, FCB Health, Ogojiii Magazine, Foote Cone & Belding, Restoration Hardware, and independent photographers. Her work has been recognized by American Photography, Society of Publication Designers, and Photo District News. Zana has had the honor of judging photography for Visa Pour L'Image, Palms Springs Photo Festival, Communication Arts, and American Photography. The globe was her workspace and playground. Zana’s passport was stamped by countries from every continent except Antarctica. And she made friends at every place and turn. Like in her professional life, she curated artifacts, experiences, and imaginings to fully embrace the people, culture, and history of a place. Not one to hoard her life, she shared those experiences with family and friends. Some were interesting and entertaining; others were heart wrenching and evoked the global challenges that we all collectively face. Yet, Zana went seemingly unafraid.

Though she travelled extensively, she never forsook her family and ancestors. Zana championed family connections and reconnections and sat at the feet of two of her favorite elder cousins – Frankie Colding Bowman of Oakland, California, and the late Corinda Wells Dyer of Little Rock, Arkansas. She inherited the love of photography from her mother who inherited it from her mother’s father, Johnnie Brent. In her blood was the spirit of a global community with ancestors from as far away as Liberia and Ireland and as close the southeastern seaboard of America.

Though Zana had no children, she passed her passion for photography and capturing life’s moments to the hearts and minds of her many nieces and nephews. They now love documenting the light in others. Zana sought enlightenment and spiritual guidance from a myriad of religious practices and philosophies. This path started from her being raised in Christian teachings learned at First Baptist Church in Pankey and St. Paul United Methodist Church (Pinnacle Valley Road) in Little Rock. Across her many travels, she continued to learn about the love, light, and miracles offered and afforded to us all. Throughout her journeys, she sought clarity, understanding, love, happiness, and adventure. Some she found little; many she found much. She was grateful for it all.

She passed on March 8, 2022, outside of Munich, Germany.

 We will miss Zana. She will be welcomed in spirit by many, including her maternal grandparents, Johnny and Azalee Brent; her paternal grandparents, Chester Woods and Irene Elizabeth Woods Macklin; her parents, Howard L. and Tollye G. Woods; her sister, Neva Kay Maree; her favorite cousin, Corinda Dyer; her best friend, Libby Douglas; and her nephews, Larry DeShawn Piggee and Christopher L. Nelson.

 Her life and legacy will be remembered by her siblings: Simon A. Norwood, Anne (Richard) Glenn, Lorri Watson, Michelle (Thomas III) Parker, Michael (Joyce) Woods, and Robin (Lloyd) Reshard; her nieces and nephews: Simon Norwood, Jr., Michael Hussey, Dania Patrice (James) Clay, Charity (Jovan) Payton, Cherie (Epha) Mugo, Faith (Kareem) Thompson, Joanna Nicole Glenn, Timothy (Tigist) Glenn, Dethanie Venson, DeAnna Thomas, Michael Watson, Thomas J. Parker, Mario Parker, Mia Parker, Tameka (Alex) Pickett, Tashana (Sora) Gaye, Tia (Carlton) Brown, Joshua Woods, Samiah Woods, Lloyd Reshard, Jr., Nathalie Reshard, and Theron Reshard; her aunt, Johnnie Washington Clark; many grandnephews and grandnieces, greatgrandnephews and great-grandnieces, cousins; special cousins, Billie Jo Tinsley and Imani Swait; and many friends, including: Patrick Mouton, Sylvia Grieser, Pascale Poma, Ashley Washington, Kim Burroughs, George McCalman, Gabriela Hasbun, and Pat Crowley.

We are all grateful that Zana lived fully

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Memorial Service
April 30, 2022

11:00 AM
Clay Baylor Memorial Gardens
Highway 300
Natural Steps, AR 72135

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