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[Photography] An interview with: Chiara Zonca (Shadow On The Run)

Psychic Garden are delighted to present an interview with one of our favourite contemporary photographers; the incredibly talented London based Canadian artist; Chiara Zonca.

Chiara captures natural environments in isolated locations around the world in a way that reaches into the primal part of your soul and inspires you to walk outside to get lost in nature and reconnect with the land.

Her camera turns desert landscapes into otherworldly shots that look like they could have been taken on another planet. The delicacy of her photographs create a reassuring sense of calm to the observer and the attention to detail of textures displayed in her works presents an extremely skilled appreciation for aesthetics, crafted by her travels and practice as an artist.

We were intrigued to find out more about the mysterious person behind the lens, known as 'Shadow On The Run' on Instagram with over 80,000 followers, as her work becomes increasingly more appreciated by modern audiences as one of the most captivating landscape photographers around.

What inspired you to take photographs?

I started taking pictures out of sadness. My life in London was making me miserable. I had zero contact with nature, I was depressed and didn’t know why. I have always been a city person therefore I wasn’t able to pin-point where that sadness was coming from exactly. Slowly, out of pure instinct, I opened myself to exploring nature more and once I felt that was exactly what I needed to be happy, I kept going.

Photography became the excuse to go on trips, enjoy the outdoors at first. I had so much fun with it I couldn’t stop, the camera became my therapist in a way, allowing me to express myself creatively. A ray of pure joy and hope to this day.

Highlighting the natural beauty and texture of earth's landscapes seems pivotal to your work - how would you describe your own practice ? 

It’s extremely instinctive. My own goal is to somehow project what I am feeling when visiting those majestic places into the photograph. I attempt to replicate my personal experience of the landscape which isn’t as mono-dimensional as a single photo. In a way my process is similar to shooting a motion film.

First you might focus on the wider landscape such as a beautiful vista but then your eye would get drawn to textural elements around you. You need details to get the full picture. I always try to document everything that catches my eye, I love details of the land, the textures, ripples. I want to remember how it felt to touch, to breathe the place. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring photographers out there? 

To be honest I still feel like an aspiring photographer, so I will say what I usually tell myself; Keep it up, don’t get discouraged by lack of perceived success. Try to do it for passion and not for money, although it’s really tough. Stick to your gut, don’t feel pressured to have a “style” or continue photographing things your audience likes if you’ve grown in another direction. Be bold. Focus on making art. Stop making excuses for not doing something because you think you’re not good enough.

Try to network a little, get your work out there but at the same time get used to being rejected, it’s not personal and it’s not a big deal. And most of all, do not to compare yourself to other artists. It feels sometimes that other people have all the success you want, that can bring you down. There is no point whatsoever to compare yourself to other people, it’s only going to be pushing you to imitate them, to achieve their success, and you might lose your authenticity along the way.

If you are making art, try to remind yourself of the reasons why you are doing it in the first place. Maybe it seems people now aren’t understanding your work, but how boring would it be if you just conformed to what people understand now negating you the chance to bloom in your own terms? Make work for the viewers of tomorrow, not the ones of today.

What has been your favourite place to visit when working ? 

For photography I’d say my very own universe I created with my series “she moves while earth sleeps”. I don’t get attached to real places anymore, I find that limiting to my experience as an artist. If we’re talking travel instead I guess I am always a fan of the US South-west as well as the Chilean Altiplano, Iceland, New Zealand, Canada, Oman.. I like everything especially now I can’t travel.

Tell us about why you love 35mm and medium format ?

It’s all about the colours. Film has the creamiest feel, makes everything look like an old movie, it’s more cinematic and soft.

Since I started scanning my own work I have been learning a lot about what I like in colours and my passion for film has increased ten-fold. 

Discover more of Chiara Zonca's incredible work at the links below ~



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