C. Zanis spent his childhood in Alexandropol (Gumri, Armenia). In 1878 his family moved to Tbilisi. The young man entered the technical high school. There on the walls plaster - cast details were hanging and from over the shelves the copies of antique sculptures were gazing.
After graduating the college he worked as a turner for a while and then he found work at a private photo - studio. In 1890 C. Zanis was invited to the silk - breeding station.
The views of urban streets and individual buildings, genre - scenes taken by C. Zanis where presented at the first Caucasian exhibition of the Society of Amateur Photographers in 1897. C. Zanis was awarded with the bronze medal. In 1901 he got the minor gold medal (the grand medal was awarded to the famous photographer Ed.Klar) at the anniversary Caucasion Exhibition. "For the Labour and Knowledge", is engraved on the medal which precisely evaluated C. Zanis creative work.
In 1908 C. Zanis was appointed as the head of the military - topographical department of the Caucasian military region.
He had friendly relations with the photographers Ed. Klar, S. Michnik, B. Mishchenko, with the figures of creative art in whose work he actively participated.
During the Soviet period C. Zanis continued work at the military - topographical department. He took a part in the activities of creative associations, photo - exhibitions, shared his experience with the yonger generation of photographers. In 1936 he was awarded the title of the Hero of Labour.