Anatomy of a photograph by Zuzu Valla

The series ''In The Bath'' came into my mind one day when I was walking home from town, feeling weary of life and the weather.
Anatomy of a photograph | Zuzu Valla

I came to photography almost by accident in my late twenties, and in the few years since that time, it has transformed my life.

My grandfather was a keen amateur photographer, shooting in black and white, and growing up I always enjoyed his pictures, without knowing it would one day become my passion. My grandmother also created colour paintings from his photos, which I helped her with as a child. Yet despite this early introduction to photography, I thought of it as something where I admired other people’s work, never thinking that one day l would follow in my grandparents’ footsteps.

For most of my young adult life, I enjoyed taking pictures of everyday moments using a mobile phone. Because I couldn’t find a phone with good quality at that time, I decided to buy a camera and from that day, my 29th birthday, I was born again.For the first month I felt intimidated by the camera and its complex functions, so I hid it under my bed, only sometimes taking it out to open the box, look at it, and put it away again. Luckily my house mate, also a photographer, pushed me to try. So I began, and since then I have never stopped.From that day photography has taken over my life. I think about it all the time, and am continually finding new inspiration all around me. Often this comes from the people I meet through my daily life, many of whom have become models for me.

For me the main driver of my photography is my own melancholic personality, which I try to keep hidden in public.This is reflected in the subdued, subtle and tender atmosphere of my favorite pictures. I want to celebrate womanhood and the less obvious aspects of feminine beauty, the calm between the smiles. I have a special fascination with photographing the female back, allowing the posture and body language to tell its own story. In my pictures, the face is often unseen or only partially visible, meaning the observer can only guess the mood of the subject. I like catching the atmosphere of a moment which will never happen again, where beauty and softness meets pain and sadness.My work is gaining an increasing audience both online and in physical galleries, and I am excited to keep growing and developing my craft in the years to come. I aim to be published regularly in quality magazines, while continuing my own personal creative projects. [Official Website]

Can you explain us the idea or the story behind this image?

The series ”In The Bath” came into my mind one day when I was walking home from town, feeling weary of life and the weather.

It was one of those occasional days when I fall deep down into a melancholy mood, and everything felt cloudy and sad. All I wanted was a nice hot bath, with lavender oil. As I walked down the street I started to imagine how it would be deeply breathing in and enjoying that beautiful aroma giving a little relief to my spirit.

An idea started growing when I passed my favourite cherry tree. In my head I started choosing models, flowers, poses. I was so excited about bringing together my love for flowers with my passion for women photography into the bath.

This combination is perfect, allowing me to express the similarity between women and flowers. Flowers can be tender, soft and sweet-smelling, sometimes untouchable like roses with their thorns. Women can be just like flowers. Some women are wild like roses, bold and sensual, soft and gentle, but sometimes dangerous at the same time. Like women’s emotions, bathing can be functional or more deeply layered and complex.

Specifically, this photo was created when my friend, called me and asked if I can do some marketing photos for her hand made jewellery. I was planning to do this photoshoot and I decided to combine it and see what happen.

Can you explain us what equipment you used for its realization?

For this photo l used my old camera Canon 500D, and 50mm 1.8 lens. I used natural light.

Tell us how it is taken from the most technical aspect.

I used natural light which was going from the right side. The window was quite small, so it was a bit difficult with another people in the very small room, so they have to move to one corner, so I had enough light. I used special Cleopatraís powder and milk to change the water colour. Flower in this shoot I hand picked with my husband night before near to our house in the rain. We had a fun, I am glad he is crazy as me and helping me with everything.

What problems and challenges did you face when you took the shot of this image?

The biggest problem is that 50mm lens with my old 500D camera cut everything around and give you very little space to take a picture in the small space. I’ve had to be standing on the edge of the bath. The model canít go any deeper as the picture would look completely different. Plus the light was bit dark in the small room and was very hot there too. Laugh.

We are talking about the postproduction process. How do you get the final result?

Believe me or not, I am not using Photoshop or Lightroom and I never did. Only for changing sizes and small things like that. I am using online Photo Editors, where I just sharp pictures as I need, brush what I donít need and add filters.

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Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
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