Zuzana Valla is an award-winning semi-professional photographer based in Kent. Originally from Slovakia, Zuzana was brought up in a traditional Slovak family, growing up in the last years of the strong communism regime and social transformation of Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia).
Her father boxed for Czechoslovakia, with multiple championship titles to his name whilst her mother raised Zuzana and her two siblings in a small town.
Zuzana grew up familiar with the art of photography as her grandfather was a keen amateur photographer. He shot in black and white and was supported by her grandmother who used a special painting method to bring colour to his photographs. However, Zuzana started photography almost by accident in her late 20s. After being disappointed with images using a mobile phone camera Zuzana brought her first DSLR in 2011, a Canon 500D and her passion and unique style has grown from there.
"Photography is my passion, way of my life. It is the happiness I feel when I have camera on my eye. It's not just freedom, it's moment, when I know that I am alive."
Zuzana loves fine art photography and her style is very distinct. Favouring location shoots and natural light she is inspired by movies about Kings and Queens, old paintings and her streak of melancholy.
Zuzana's body of work is enigmatic and builds an intriguing connection between the lens and subject that sometimes challenges the audience. When asked about how she plans and sets up a shoot Zuzana explained that she plans only the rough idea; I always go with the flow and the mood on the set because it never goes as I planned. She currently shoots on a Canon 5D Mlll and her favourite lens is Canon 50mm 1.4
"The most memorable shoot I've had would be when I was shooting the most famous actress in Slovakia; it was a great opportunity and very good experience. If I was to offer one piece of advice it would be this. Be yourself, find out what you like to photograph the most, what makes you happy and give you the joy. Then do something every day to be better or learn something new. Never give up! Ever"
Alongside her photography Zuzana has been a dedicated team member at Premier Foods for the last 12 years and it's not often that the two worlds collide. During the Covid pandemic and lockdown, Zuzana was so inspired by the efforts of her colleagues to keep team spirit high, whilst maintaining high manufacturing standards, that she began capturing team members at work in what has built into an interesting project that documents this time.
"In my project 'Key workers' I really wanted to show people that we never see during lockdown, hidden behind the walls. While we all see media reports about, for example, health and social care professionals and teachers, there are some other groups of key workers hidden from view. In my project I also want to demonstrate how well people are pulling together, as well as showing the pride we have in being part of a team that's helping to feed the nation.’’