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?UESTIONS: Zélia - Narrative Style

A true storyteller, Zélia captures the essence of the unseen and shines the camera on those who are marginalised. Changing the narrative and utilising both the written word and photography, she captures everyday life and the real people within it.

A group of people by the roadside.

_𝚂𝚚𝚞𝚊𝚍 (𝟶𝟿)

Can you share with us your earliest interest in photography?

My attraction to photography awakened at a very young age, probably around 4 or 5 years old. I loved handling my parents' camera to capture their portraits. Before I turned ten, I  took pleasure in immortalizing the faces of my neighborhood friends and capturing the seasonal transformations of the surrounding nature. At that time, I was already pondering about the passage of time and feared forgetting.

The camera had a kind of magical power for me, that of suspending time, of preserving forever a portion of it. Despite taking a break for a few years, I eventually found my way back to photography with renewed enthusiasm.

A girl and boy in a playground.

𝙻𝚒𝚏𝚎 _

What does the camera mean to you?

While in my childhood, the camera held significant meaning as an object, now it takes a secondary role, primarily serving as a medium to inquire, tell stories, and shed light on overlooked realities and marginalized individuals.

Although still a valuable tool, its worth now lies more in its capacity to stimulate reflection and spark conversations on important subjects, rather than its material aspect.

A man looking at the camera


How has being of mixed heritage influenced your approach?

Being of mixed heritage has had a profound impact on my approach to photography and how I capture my subjects. It has made me more sensitive to the complexities of identity and representation, influencing the way I interact with and portray my subjects.

I strive to capture the essence of each individual I photograph, honoring their unique backgrounds. Furthermore, being both a woman and a biracial further motivates me to make an impact and amplify my voice.

A man in a mask looking through records.


How do you like to use language in both written and image form?

I am currently on the verge of concluding a retrospective piece where I aim, in part, to shed light on life narratives within marginalized environments, often overlooked. I adopt a similar stance in my visual work. I would say that the two complement each other but never merge as I use them separately.

My writing is very visual, echoing my photographic art, and often has a melodic, rhythmic quality – sometimes inadvertently poetic. This unintentional poetry adds depth to my storytelling and enhances the emotional impact of my work, at least, I hope.

A young lady looking at the camera, with a blue wall behind her.

-- 𝙴𝚜𝚝 𝟷𝟿𝟿𝟺

Images courtesy of Zélia

Instagram: @zelia_25


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