Zuzu Valla is based in Ashford, Kent, originally come from Slovakia. At the age of 36, she is on the verge of defining her very own and recognisable signature photography style, exploring multiple layers of distinct human beauty.
Zuzu’s work was published in many respected online and print magazines such as; Vogue Italia, Dark Beauty Magazine, Dodho Magazine, Kent Bride Magazine, Artbo, STRKNG.com and many more. Zuzu has exhibited her work in Paris and Iran this year and she is planning more exhibitions in the UK and Paris in 2019.
Zuzu was brought up in a traditional Slovak family, growing up in the last years of strong communism regime and social transformation of Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia). Her father was a multiple boxing champion of Czechoslovakia while her mother was a housewife raising her, sister and brother in a small town. Zuzu’s grandfather was a keen amateur photographer shooting in black and white. Grandmother was using special painting method to colour his photographs.
Zuzu started her interest in photography almost by accident in her late 20s. After initial disappointments using a mobile phone camera, she reached for her first DSLR camera and she has never looked back. Photography began her favourite hobby.
Zuzu is excited about capturing the moments, where beauty, sadness and mystery come together. These photographs are creating her unique visual signature.
The series ”In the Bath” came into my mind one day when was walking home from town, feeling weary of life and the weather.
It was one of those occasional days when l fall deep down into a melancholy mood, and everything feels cloudy and sad. All l wanted was a nice hot bath, with lavender oil, and l started breathing deeply, trying to imagine that beautiful smell and give a little relief to my spirit.
Then l began thinking of some pictures which l had seen maybe five years earlier, at the beginning of my photography career. The pictures were of a woman resting in a bath full of milk, which reminded me that Cleopatra used to bathe herself in milk. As I thought about how nourishing and soothing that must feel, I passed by my favorite cherry tree flowers on my shortcut home. I love their deep red colour, and their meaning is special to me because in my country, Slovakia, on the first of May, every man has to kiss their woman to ensure she will have enough love for the rest of the year. An idea started growing in my head, and l began choosing models, flowers, poses.
I became excited about bringing together my love of flowers with my passion for photographing women, showing their similarities. Flowers can be tender, soft and sweet-smelling, and sometimes untouchable like roses with their thorns. Or enigmatic like the waterlily, beautiful but mysterious as you do not know what lies beneath the water. Some women are wild like orchids, bold and sensual. Flowers can be just like women: Soft and gentle, but sometimes dangerous at the same time. Along with this is my deep enjoyment of warm fragrant baths, allowing us to switch off our brain, wash our soul, clean our thoughts. Above all, l love taking pictures of women, as they have so many emotions to tell, without words. So this combination is perfect for me, allowing me to express everything or nothing. Like womenís emotions, bathing can be functional or more deeply layered and complex.
Sometimes we just want to wash ourself to feel fresh and smell nice. Sometimes we want to cleanse ourselves of bad energy, or bury memories, take them under water and leave them there, And sometimes we just want to relax and think of nothing. This series may continue from time to time, depending on my mood, For now, women, flowers and water are my top three subjects for the foreseeable future, as through them I wash myself, as the models wash their bodies.
My grandfather was a keen amateur photographer shooting amazing black and white photographs.
I always admired other photographersí work, never thinking that one day I would follow my grandfatherís footsteps.
I started in my late 20’s as a street and everyday photographer. After two years of trying to capture all different kind of photographs, I found out that somehow the women fascinate me the most. I love to share emotions trough my models, who I often find in streets, at work or even in supermarket.
I am fascinated by womenís softness, tenderness and fragility. In my photographs I like to join both, femininity and sadness together. Every photoshoot helps me to ventilate my own sadness hidden inside of me. I believe that every emotion is an energy that can be transformed from one form in to the another one. I aim to capture emotions in photographs. For some reason I have found, that ginger and freckled people have something unique in their soul. Something very similar to mine. I love freckles. They always make me thinking and asking myself questions like, why are they there? Why others don’t have them? And why someone have so many of them? That really fascinate me that much that I can not even explain it. It is amazing.
I also like the way they pose. They do everything I expect. I don’t even have to tell them much about where to move, or how to turn, or where to look because they are doing it automatically. We are in symbiosis and I can feel the right atmosphere for photoshoot. For me they are special, there is not many of them out there and that is why I really like them. I love to be exited if I will find any and what their soul will be like. At the moment, the best muses through who I can express my feelings are women and ginger women and men.
I am very curious about where my photographic me will take me in the future, because it already looks like itís calling me somewhere completely else. I will just let it go with the flow and let myself to be surprised.