CHIARA ZONCA

EXPLORING BEAUTIFUL ODDITIES

Led by her curiosity of the strange and foreign, Canada-based photographer Chiara Zonca is drawn to natural scenes that illustrate the unexplored, lost, and otherworldly. Staying away from the trappings of common landscape imagery, Chiara balances preparation with spontaneity while photographing. “I like to plan my locations carefully but once I am there it becomes very instinctive. I don’t like to overthink the composition too much; I usually let colours and textures determine my frame.” Exploring the far reaches of Earth, Chiara’s desire to document landscapes and textural dimensions led her to the deserts of North and South America to explore their silent beauty with the Hasselblad 500C and the X1D-50c.

Atacama Desert, Chile
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD X1D-50C
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250 SEC
APERTURE: F/8
FOCAL LENGTH: 45MM (XCD 3,5/45)
© CHIARA ZONCA

Atacama Desert, Chile
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD X1D-50C
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250 SEC
APERTURE: F/8
FOCAL LENGTH: 45MM (XCD 3,5/45)
© CHIARA ZONCA

Atacama Desert, Chile
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD X1D-50C
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 SEC
APERTURE: F/6,8
FOCAL LENGTH: 45MM (XCD 3,5/45)
© CHIARA ZONCA

Atacama Desert, Chile
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD 500C
© CHIARA ZONCA

MIXING ANALOG AND DIGITAL

In her current workflow, Chiara mixes both digital and film-based capture, choosing each to achieve a specific mood and result in the final image. “My film camera is a Hasselblad 500C which is fairly old, cranky, heavy but that takes such beautiful pictures I still manage to carry it in my backpack on all my travels.”

Chiara continues, “The strength of digital photography comes into play with the demands of commercial work where delivery and detail in large format prints is of great priority.” Throughout the hybridization of mediums, her devotion to film-based photography remains strong: “It feels more intense, more nostalgic. I like that about film – the extra depth, that beautiful sadness to it.” 

MEDIUM FORMAT IN THE DESERT

On a series of recent trips to the Atacama Desert in Chile and Death Valley, Yellowstone National Park, and Bisti Badlands in the American West, Chiara tried out the X1D-50c mirrorless medium format camera alongside her Hasselblad 500C. “I felt like I could take the power and magic of my old film camera into a slender, quicker body. The results were also very different in their own way; anything that came out from the X1D looked colourful, vibrant and modern. On the other hand, the Hasselblad 500C delivered soul, depth and feelings.”

Atacama Desert, Chile
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD 500C
© CHIARA ZONCA

American West
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD 500C
© CHIARA ZONCA

American West
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD X1D-50C
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 SEC
APERTURE: F/5,6
FOCAL LENGTH: 45MM (XCD 3,5/45)
© CHIARA ZONCA

NEXT STEPS

In her ardent pursuit, Chiara takes inspiration from a wide variety of media spanning books, paintings, and historical work, allowing for inspiration to come from unpredictable sources and taking meandering paths. In all things though, the challenge of personal development and reward is present. “Shutting down the external noise is the hardest thing for an artist as we’re constantly looking for approval. But it is important to be aware of why we create art in the first place.” Moving forward, Chiara is working on a new project focusing on the urgency of being a photographer. “I’ve been working on this project for more than a year now and it will be released very soon. It is very different to anything I have done before and I am equally thrilled and terrified to release it!”

American West
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD 500C
© CHIARA ZONCA

American West
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD X1D-50C
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/350 SEC
APERTURE: F/6,8
FOCAL LENGTH: 45MM (XCD 3,5/45)
© CHIARA ZONCA
American West
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD 500C
© CHIARA ZONCA

ABOUT CHIARA ZONCA

With widespread recognition amongst her contemporaries, it’s a small surprise that Chiara Zonca has only recently rekindled a passion for still image making. Initially studying photography while at university in her hometown of Milan, jobs and work in other mediums took priority but ultimately, she found her way back. In 2018, Chiara’s work was published by New Heroes & Pioneers publishing house in the monograph, Desert Portraits.Her work continues to be published in magazines including My Tiny Atlas, wilderness, boom saloon, SATORI, and more. Today she calls Western Canada home though her travels take her far and wide. To see more of Chiara’s work, visit her site or @shadowontherun.

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