ABOUT TANYA ZOUEV
Photography for me, from the very beginning of my career, has been about capture. Not just in the literal mechanical sense of a shutter capturing a fraction of a second, but also in the capturing of a moment, the capturing of the viewer and in turn the capturing of emotion. The Oxford Dictionary defines capture as “to take into possession”, “to exert influence over” and “to record accurately in words or pictures”.
Whilst the latter is probably the most logical definition, I prefer the former because a truly successful image will always do just that. After all, I don’t think that Robert Mapplethorpe, Mary Ellen Mark or Diane Arbus were particularly concerned with simply “recording accurately”. Their images were and still are very much arresting, and influential.
My story as a photographer begins in 1987, in high school, at age 16. I’d had my heart set on becoming a graphic designer and creative director from my very early teens, but then I got my hands on a Pentax P30 35mm camera along with a roll of Kodak Plus-X black and white film. I fell in love so deeply that the thought of spending my life as anything other than a photographer just didn’t make sense. I became notorious with my teachers for skipping out on class in favour of the darkroom and I found my first job very shortly thereafter at a suburban Melbourne portrait studio where I worked after school and on weekends. I went onto study a Bachelor’s degree in fine art photography under Dr. Les Walkling at RMIT which I completed in 1993.
In the first ten years of my career I pretty much ran the gamut of what a photographer could shoot. I worked seven days a week for years shooting everything from car rallies to Santa pictures to several hundred weddings. In addition to this, I also worked as a retoucher and darkroom operator printing colour and black & white images in pro-labs. I didn’t care, just as long as it was taking pictures, being knee-deep in darkrooms and utterly immersed in photography. I wanted to build a solid foundation as a photographer who could face any challenge out in the field and I really got to know my stuff. A tad obsessive perhaps, but it was that driving force that has led me to become the photographer I am today.
Most days, my life revolves around photography in some shape or form. I have a love of food that comes a close second to that of taking pictures. I cook as I shoot, a marriage of heart and intuition. When I’m working in the studio, I just know when I’ve got the capture. The same goes for when I’m in the kitchen, I just know when the flavours are right. When I’m not reading photography books or briefs, I’m reading cookbooks. Understandably then, some sixteen years ago I bought those two loves together and started shooting food. Today, my work is in Sydney where I have lived since 2000, shooting food, people and product photography for advertising and publishing clients.
It’s been some twenty-nine years since I first picked up that Pentax, and twenty-four years as a pro. Now in my mid-forties and with my Santa photography days well and truly behind me, I take on commissions with confidence and skill, knowing that with my years of experience I can fulfil a client’s brief and exceed expectations. Whether it be a portrait, a product or a plate of food, my intention is that each photograph I take be evocative, beautiful and of the highest technical standard.
Tanya Zouev, August 2016.
My professional photography career and experience spans over two decades in both analogue and digital formats and I am available for commissions both in studio and on location. I specialise in food, lifestyle and product photography and am available for advertising, publishing and commercial clients. My work is shot with a Phase One digital medium format system and for reportage-style commissions I use Canon. I am a Phase One Certified Professional and have over twelve years experience as a Capture One operator and overall twenty years experience working in digital photography.
(Photographer’s portrait by Amanda Prior, hair and makeup by Jess Berg.)
Please view my commercial work on my portfolio page . My client list includes:
- Westfield Sydney
- Continental (Unilever)
- Rosemount Wines
- Campos Coffee
- Sumo Salad
- Parker’s Organic Juices
- Pitango Soups
- Origin Energy
- Bazaar Breads
- Vitaco Australia (Aussie Bodies and Balance brands)
- Sanitarium Health Foods
- Pie Face
- Cleaver’s Organic Meats
- Bruemar Meats
- Murdoch Books (many titles including Jenny Craig and Marie Claire cookbooks)
- Hardie Grant Books (Margaret Fulton’s Kitchen)
- Women’s Weekly Cookbooks
- Bauer Media Books
and more…contact me to find out.