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An interview with Chiara Zonca

7th Dec 2018

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Chiara Zonca is an amazing photographer who captures landscapes and the beauty of nature in a unique, subtle and yet bold way. Having recently released a new book, Desert Portraits, and with exciting projects planned for 2019, we were thrilled at the opportunity to get to know more about Chiara and her fascinating work!

So Chiara, the landscapes that you capture are truly breathtaking. What is the inspiration behind your choice of subject?

I have a strong kinship with solitary places, the remote, the barren. My work started simply by documenting places I loved, the ones I felt safe in. It slowly evolved into something else, the investigation of the influence those landscapes have on me; of what happens when I am alone in a remote environment psychologically.

Have raw landscapes always been a choice of scenery where your photography is concerned?

Oh totally. Solitude is paramount in my work, whether real or just perceived.
I don’t feel free to create in the same way if there are too many people around and this research for seclusion usually lends to very raw, mysterious locations.

Your work exhibits a strong element of escapism. Would you say this is something you are wanting to emulate through your photographs?

Indeed, when I first started taking images of my travels my life was off the rails a little bit, I was unhappy with my lifestyle choices, living in a city and all. I strongly felt as if something needed changing in order for me to move on. I guess my work embodies escapism because every piece of my soul was screaming to be let out of the cage I was living in. I wanted to take the moment portrayed in the photo and extend it to infinity to exist sorely in that photo. There is a nostalgic element to it.

As it stands you are in the process of releasing your book, Desert Portraits. Please tell us as much as you can about it; what inspired you to create it?

Desert Portraits is based on my series, “Moon Kingdom” shot in the Bolivian and Chilean Altiplano.
What first drew my attention to the project was the area, it is just breathtakingly beautiful but has an eeriness to it, I knew as soon as I saw it that it was the perfect canvas to project my feelings into. I travelled in the area for about a month, camped, stayed in the most solitary places where I didn’t see a soul for days. It was almost feral. Those images started as a description of the landscape but now that I had spent days in it, living in it, they were a description of myself as well.

As the body of work kept getting bigger and more meaningful, I started thinking about turning it into a book and when my editor approached me about the possibility I jumped at the chance.

Do you have any big plans for 2019?

Yes, in 2019 I will release my new series which is still in the works and kind of a big deal for me as it’s a dramatic evolution from the type of work I have been doing.
I have been shooting it in North America and selfishly keeping it for myself for now but cannot wait to see it evolve and grow until it’s ready to be shared!

Chiara Zonca:

Instagram: @shadowontherun