WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE ART?
Create art for me, to means to be alive. If I am
not doing anything, I feel like I am dying.I am thinking about art and photography 24/7.
AS A PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPHER, HOW DO YOU FIND YOUR MODELS? AND HOW DO YOU ESTABLISH AN ATMOSPHERE OF DEEP TRUST WHICH IS SO EVIDENT IN YOUR WORK?
I used to find all my models on the street, in supermarkets, and on public transport. If I like somebody, I don't hesitate to approach them with an explanation of who I am and what I want. I show my business cards printed on fine art paper, which look like portfolios: if it's a younger generation, I show my work on Instagram. Lately, I have been fortunate to work with Radical Beauty and Zebedee agency, and I just simply fell in love.
IS THERE A REOCCURRING MESSAGE OR AN IDEA IN YOUR ART, AND IF SO, COULD YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT IT?
Since the beginning of my photography, I have loved unusual-looking models; in the beginning it all started with freckles and red hair.
My message has always been to show viewers that beauty is everywhere; it is only up to us to be open to see it.
Zuzu's work has been published in Vogue Portugal, British Vogue, Photo Vogue, Art+Commerce, L'Officiel Baltic, L'Officiel Lithuania, Joy Hungary, Infringe, Schon, Dodho, Kaltblut, Liberatum, Squardo, Feroce, Raw, Dark Beauty Magazine, Hunger, HUF, Purplehaze, Pap, Coyculture, Roidx, Selin, Ellements, Volant, Boyfriend, StyleCruize, Monaco Magazine, Goji, Pump 1723, Gmaro, Marika, Vous, Avessa, INTRA, Glamville, Malvie, Top Posters, and Luxiders.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR RECENT PROJECT WITH VOGUE PORTUGAL AND WHAT EXPERIENCE DID YOU GATHER AS AN ARTIST FROM BEING AN INTEGRAL PART OF IT?
What inspired me was seeing what Alessia Glaviano did with David PD Hyde, Gucci, and Ellie. As I was trying to find out for a long time what my mission was, what I was trying to say, and what direction i was taking, I understood that I didn't want just to take pictures. I felt that I had a voice, and I wanted to reach people through it and change the world. I feel in my heart that this is something that makes me feel very happy and fulfilled. To be an advocate, do something of meaning. I absolutely loved the idea of disabled people in fashion, or in general anybody our of that outdated "beauty" standard, wearing Dior, Alexander McQueen, or Bora Aksu.
I want to go through a magazine and see all kinds of diversity without pointing out that there are disabled models, plus size or black models. I would like that to be our new normal. Especially for the younger generation, who compare themselves with "perfect" beauty on social media, I think it is unhealthy, and if we have the power to do something, we should.
I gathered a vast awakening from this shoot; I mean, as a person, I realized how ungrateful I was about everything in my life. My models inspired me deeply by sharing to their stories about how they overcame their obstacles and learned to love themselves. I firmly believe this is something we all should learn. Another big learning curve from that experience was becoming efficient and knowledgeable in communicating with a large team of 25 people. Fortunately, everyone was great and supportive.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR ZUZANA VALLA?
Next, I would like to continue working with disabled models (I have already done two more projects). Also, I want to continue working with all-inclusive diversity while trying new styles, doing things outside the box, and ideally working with loads of people. I am planning some projects with students as well, as they are full of ideas and excitement, plus working on three more projects now. All that plus ongoing planning in my head. I just wish that day has more than 24 hours.(laugh)
FOR STARTING ARTISTS, THE TOPIC OF REJECTION IS A CRITICAL ONE. CAN YOU SHARE WITH US YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE AROUND IT AND GIVE SOME ADVICE?
I think this is a very important topic. I still believe that nobody will ever fully overcome the fear of rejection, as we are all human beings. I never thought that I was a great photographer, and I don't like my pictures most of the time. After every project, I kept saying that it was my last one and now I will have little rest. Yet, when I wake up in the morning and find an email with another exciting proposal (laugh), I am back to work.
I read somewhere that it is good not to be satisfied, as it will lead you to constantly develop and learn new things. To get comfortable is the creativity killer. I am still not where I would like to be, but I am constantly trying to remind myself to enjoy the process and the way, as we are tempted only to see the goal and when we reach it, we are not as happy as we should be and we already want something else.
So my question is, is it the rejection which we are suffering from, or is it the fact that we are not happy enough and not appreciative enough of what we already have? Are we genuinely enjoying what we are doing, or are we doing it for fame or publication? Have we done this shoot to help others, or have we done it for ourselves? If you can answer those questions honestly, you will discover that something like rejection doesn't exist. The rest will automatically come if you are satisfied, happy, and enjoy what you do. I also learned that the editors could get ioo proposals, sometimes even daily! So, trying to put yourself in somebody else's shoes can be very helpful; it will take you from self-centeredness to understanding others more. They simply don't have time and energy to reply to every email.
Imagine you have 100 proposals from models every day. You cannot shoot everyone, even if you have three lives to live. You will only choose those suitable for you and your style; you will not shoot gothic if your style is romantic. So, when submitting, think about if your style is suitable for the magazine's aesthetic or platform where you are trying to submit. You can change the style for the experience or creativity, but only if you like it and feel fulfilled by it. You should not do something that is not "You" just because you want to be published. Find publications where your style fits. Most importantly, think positive, be happy, and you will attract people that are positive and happy.
I believe in God, and even when I send 100's of emails, and no one is responding countless times, I believe that this wasn't for me.
YOUR TOP 5 INSPIRING OBJECTS (BOOKS, PAINTINGS, MUSIC)
Hair and makeup artists always inspire me to new ideas, along with techno music, movies, cloudy weather, and melancholic mood.