INSPIRED WITH HASSELBLAD
It's more important now than ever to keep up our creative spirit. For many of us, our living rooms have become our studios and our typical style of photography is just not possible to do at the moment. Using everyday objects or the people living with them, get inspired by and learn from Hasselblad photographers who are still finding ways to harness their creativity from home. Further explore Hasselblad's community of creatives on Instagram using the hashtag #InspiredWithHasselblad.
Italian photographer Chiara Zonca is forced to rediscover her familiar surroundings around her Canadian home base while social distancing during this time. With light as her strongest tool, she transforms the seaside and forest landscapes into ethereal spots that are reminiscent of her usual otherworldly photo locations.
When photographing a location you see all the time like your home, garden or local park currently accessible to you, versatility is key. Light is definitely the strongest tool in your box for this. Spend time in this place at different moments of the day, in different weather conditions. Analyse what it is that you love about the light or simply enjoy chasing the sun as it draws on surfaces in ways you didn’t predict.
What is the inspiration for your imagery?
My inspiration is always around nature and how it makes me feel. I am extremely lucky to have access to some nature during this pandemic and the past couple of months really reinforced my belief that we need wild places more than ever as human beings. On the island where I live, I have two favourite places where I can still take a walk outdoors while social distancing: one by the ocean, one in the woods. I have been visiting them often, challenging myself to create images that would speak of my love and deep appreciation for the landscape. I enjoyed the challenge of digging deeper and portraying my genuine affection for a location that gave the word “home” a whole new meaning lately.
What are the current changes to your workflow?
From a creation point of view, I used to be more focused on the location of my photographs. Being able to travel everywhere I wanted, I used to depend much more on where exactly I wanted to be. Now I have to start with introspection first; instead of a landscape I strive to capture a feeling. I then force myself to photograph my immediate surroundings. Can I make them look different as if they are filtered through my eyes? Overall I feel this has made me more observant, not just of the outside world but mostly of what’s happening on the inside.
What are your tips for those who are struggling to find creativity while socially distancing?
When photographing a location you see all the time like your home, garden or local park currently accessible to you, versatility is key. But how do you achieve that in a small, confined space where everything “looks the same”? Light is definitely the strongest tool in your box for this. Spend time in this place at different moments of the day, in different weather conditions. Analyse what it is that you love about the light or simply enjoy chasing the sun as it draws on surfaces in ways you didn’t predict. I often bring with me a light reflector to maximize on the beautiful sun rays and direct them to the exact spot where I want them to be. If you don’t have one, experiment with mirrors or even materials you can find in your kitchen such as foil. The results will surprise you. When I started visiting my spot by the sea, the sun was sinking below the horizon in a low angle that lit up the environment with a gorgeous golden glow. That fleeting moment would last only a few minutes and as days are getting longer and the sun position is changing, the overall effect is also changing. I don’t think I have taken the same picture twice there. Also, where there is light there is also shadow. Don’t discard the central parts of the day because of harsh light. Use it to your advantage focusing on shadow details such as a tree projecting its branches onto a surface. Sun through trees can also work as a natural spotlight, highlighting a detail and offering a great opportunity for some still life shots or portraiture.
What challenge do you give to those also stuck in their homes to keep the creative juices flowing?
Besides the above tip about visiting a certain place in every light condition, I would say focus on the details. A place might look not so impressive overall when looking from a distance but might display interesting angles when up close. In my spot by the ocean, I was never happy with a panoramic wide shot. Too many boats and the landscape looked ordinary while I tend to enjoy the unusual and the otherworldly. Then I noticed that the low tide revealed secret treasures such as shimmering crystal shaped rocks that wouldn’t have been out of place in a gem still life commercial. The beauty of photography is that perspective can be used to your advantage – what looks tiny to you on site might not be automatically perceived as such by the viewer. Play with that and create angles that will make the place look different in a photo compared to what you see in person.