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March 08, 2021 1 Comment

Today is International Women’s Day, a day that highlights the long-enduring fight for equality and celebrates the women who have put in the work to make the world a more equal place. While landscape and wildlife photography continues to a male-dominated field, women across the globe are working hard to carve out their place at the table.

At Vallerret we are proud to work with some of the most talented women in the industry so for this Women’s Day, we wanted to shine a spotlight on the women who help make up our Ambassador team. Read on to see what these amazing women are up to. 

Photo by Sapna Reddy.

Who are you, where do you live, and what type of photography do you enjoy? 

Isabella Tabacchi

"I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and I’m a wildlife photographer. I am passionate about photographing wildlife in their natural surroundings and my focus is on wildlife in Western Canada." - Colleen Gara 

"I live in Barcelona, and I’m deeply passionate about landscape photography. I appreciate walking through the city to find beautiful compositions, but as soon as I have the opportunity I escape the city to explore nature." — Aurore Alifanti

"I live in Friuli, a region in eastern Italy. Living here allows me to do landscape and nature photography, which is what I like most." — Silvia Mazzon

"Based in Northern California am fortunate to be surrounded by a plethora of beautiful landscapes. From the rocky shores of the California coastline to the snowcapped mountains of the Sierra to age-old Redwood forests there is so much to explore, discover, experience and photograph. I Am drawn to the wonder and beauty of nature and my photography is a reflection of this." — Sapna Reddy

"For many years I have lived in Italy near Rome, but in a few months, I will finally move and go to live in the heart of the Alps. It was a difficult decision but I am convinced that only living in the mountains, surrounded by nature can make me happy considering that I mainly deal with landscape photography and what I will do in the future as well." - Roksolyana Hilevych

Photo by Isabella Tabacchi. 

How did you get into photography? Do you have any memorable mentors who helped jumpstart your career/passion? 

“I always loved nature, especially the landscapes and I needed to capture my feelings and my memories when I was in nature. I discovered that photography was a way to express my emotions and translate what nature shows me. My beginning was thanks to myself and my passion. When I was finishing University, I realized that only landscape photography can make me live what I call a "true" life made of adventures, discovery, new knowledge of places, cultures and creativity. So I started to teach my knowledge to amateurs and professionals.” — Isabella Tabachhi 

"When I was younger, both of my parents were interested in photography. Eventually, I received my own point and shoot camera and took it with me everywhere. I started documenting all our camping holidays, hikes and road trips. After a short time, I started to realize that most of my photographs were of our pets or other animals we had seen on our adventures. About seven years ago, I attended a wildlife photography seminar here in Calgary that really inspired me to pursue photography more seriously." — Colleen Gara

"I started photography 6 years ago. This hobby quickly became an essential means of expression in my life. I met a lot of inspiring photographers all around the world and discovered new destinations and cultures. All this adventure made me grow as a human person." — Aurore Alifanti

"I got into photography when I was very young, I've always been an artist and photography is only one of many ways of expressing myself through art. At first, I got in touch with many talented photographers all over the world, virtually met on a social network based on photography (Flickr) and they helped me improve my skills. But most of all my closest friend, that later became my boyfriend, taught me a lot and pushed me to believe in myself and in what I can do." — Silvia Mozzon

"I have always been someone who loved spending time outdoors. As a child, I was considered a tomboy. Fond of climbing trees, running up hills and usually unkempt playing outside till forced to come indoors. As an adult, I continue to crave the time spent in the midst of nature. When I became a mother I made it a point to take my children camping/hiking/skiing/canoeing etc at every possible chance. It was during those times that I picked up a camera to start documenting the family adventures. The more I photographed the more I fell in love with nature. Without realizing it my photography went from documenting scenes of nature to creatively expressing myself through the medium of photography. There was no formal plan to make myself a career out of photography. That happened purely out of the passion for creating images and the inspiration came from the exhilarating experiences that fueled the creativity. I find the work of Marc Adamus, Max Rive, and Jimmy Chen deeply inspirational. Each of these individuals has a deep-rooted passion for outdoor adventure and that is clearly reflected in their work."— Sapna Reddy

"My passion for photography was born around the age of 5 in my father’s darkroom. I can say that I have always lived in the midst of photography, so I think it was unavoidable that sooner or later I started shooting, initially using my father's cameras and at the age of 17 I had my first camera for my birthday." -Roksolyana Hilevych

Photo by Colleen Gara.

What’s your main revenue source for photography? (i.e. selling prints, shooting on location, workshops, brand partnerships etc.) 

"Selling prints and other inspirational stuff on my shop Isabellandscapes.com and workshops, post-processing online classes, tutorials." — Isabella Tabachhi 

"My two main revenue sources in photography are selling prints and online teaching. I also generate income from workshops, commercial client work and through selling stock imagery." — Colleen Gara 

"2 years ago, I decided to live off my passion. I create content for brands that appreciate my artistic point of view, I work with companies related to the photography industry, I also propose shootings for individuals and I organize workshops." — Aurore Alifanti

"I have some brand partnerships that allow me to keep on my career, in the future, I hope to start teaching photography to beginners as I love to help people with their passion." — Silvia Mozzon

"One of my primary motivations to create images of nature was to transform the sterile whitewashed walls of the hospitals and medical centers I worked at. As a physician, I was taught to diagnose and treat the human body. I believe that in order to treat the body one must also treat the mind. The time spent in nature had a profound therapeutic effect on my mind and I wanted to share that experience with patients and staff that worked in the medical setting. So I convinced the hospital executive board to start putting up pictures of nature on the hospital walls, That was met with a very positive response and launched my career as a photographer. I sell images to both individuals and corporations directly through my website, through my social medial channels and also from third-party vendors such as art galleries. 

I conduct private and group workshops focused on creative expression through the medium of photography and the skills required to create meaningful photographs. I write articles for blogs and photography magazines and also function as a brand ambassador and promoter for photography-related products." — Sapna Reddy

"In this period, landscape photography is my second job considering that as my first job I do e-commerce photography for a clothing company but still for a short time considering that I am moving to a new location to devote myself completely to landscape photography." -Roksolyana Hilevych

Photo by Roksolyana Hilevych.

How has your photography been affected by Covid? 

“For sure I had to find a way to live together with this situation. I never gave up and I’m happy I could move a big part of my business online. It was already partially online before the Covid because I offered image editing e-learning packages to people from all over the World that live far from my country. The only sad thing is that I don’t feel anymore free to travel like before; I always need permissions for every kind of journey or trip and here in Italy restrictions change every day. So, in this period I’m focusing on my goals, on my online business and looking forward to a period in which we will be able to travel really far again! “ - Isabella Tabacchi 

“With current events, I had to cancel (or postpone) several workshops this past year. There has also been a drop in my commercial work. However, I’ve been fortunate to still be able to get outdoors and enjoy photography. I live close to many beautiful natural areas and was able to shoot quite a bit last year. I also spent a lot of time photographing wildlife in my neighborhood and in my own backyard. One positive thing from this past year has been the appreciation people have found for nature and the discovery that there is so much beauty close to home. It’s a good reminder that we don’t always need to travel to the most remote corners of the world to enjoy photography or to make meaningful images.” — Colleen Gara

"I lost one of my favorite clients because of the Covid situation. Plus the impossibility of traveling and escape in nature affect a lot my everyday mood. But I stay motivated and inspired with a new activity, I started a french blog to learn photography and editing on which I share a lot of tips." — Aurore Alifanti 

"The first couple of month with Covid made me very productive: I created a lot of contents from home and started my YouTube channel. Then, day by day restrictions didn't allow me to travel, neither in my region, and succession of quarantine periods caused less motivation and made me apathetic. As a landscape photographer, being allowed to travel is essential." — Silvia Mozzon 

"Due to restrictions on travel I had to cancel my workshops during the pandemic. There has also been a significant decline in the sale of prints due to the financial impact of the pandemic in general. 

Not being able to travel opened up the opportunity to photograph more locally. I used the time to explore places closer to home and discover their exceptional beauty. I learned to slow down and be more deliberate in both my image acquisition as well as postprocessing. I used the time to learn more and to practice the new skills acquired. In a strange sort of a way the forced quiet enhanced my photography. It gave me time to pause, reflect and fine tune the art form and to define my creative style with intent." — Sapna Reddy

"Unfortunately, I missed 2 trips abroad already organized and paid for. Here in Italy the restrictions are very strict, I have not left my region for over 4 months so obviously I cannot move freely and therefore I photograph very little in this period. So this definitely makes me feel very sad but I don't lose motivation and hope that in a while the situation will change for the better."Roksolyana Hilevych

Photo by Aurore Alifanti.

What is on your photography bucket list?  

"Many countries and locations, most of them still to discover on Google Earth! At the moment there are several natural areas around Russia, Antarctica, Peru, Himalaya, Ethiopia, Alaska and Greenland." — Isabella Tabacchi 

"I would love to see more of my own country. To travel north to the Canadian Arctic to photograph polar bears, muskox, and arctic foxes would be amazing. I would also like to visit the Yukon as the landscapes look stunning. Outside of Canada, Patagonia is on my bucket list to photograph the pumas and guanacos there. I’d also really like to return to Africa (I travelled to Namibia in 2018) to photograph wild dogs – they are an animal I would be thrilled to see." — Colleen Gara

I hope I’ll be able to go back to Iceland in 2021, I miss the north, mountains, snow and northern lights so much! I also would like to go back to Canada and enjoy its beautiful landscapes in winter since I already loved it in summer. And I would like to discover so many new destinations that it would take all day to list them haha. — Aurore Alifanti 

"First of all a trip to Scotland Castles and the Isle of Skye, I planned it as my graduation trip but due to Covid, I'm still dreaming of it. And then magical India and wild New Zealand." - Silvia Mozzon 

"I hope to be able to travel to and generate images in every National Park in the USA. Being from India originally, I would like to travel through that country as well and photograph the diverse landscapes. Am hoping to spend an extended period of time in India doing so in the near future." — Sapna Reddy

"My biggest wish is to travel a lot. There are many places I would like to visit and mainly these are mountains so the main places on my list are Cordillera in Peru, Himalaya in Nepal, Kamchatka in Russia (where my grandparents live) and also Altai, Tien Shan, Pamir and many others (all the mountains where I visited when I was younger with my father aslo a landscape photographer and I can't wait to visit them again). Then there are so many other cold places that I love and would like to visit: Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Antarctica etc.." -- Roksolyana Hilevych

Photo by Roksolyana Hilevych.

Favourite photography glove 

"I loved a lot W’s Nordic gloves but I’d like to try them more in even colder conditions, for now, they were perfect at –7!" — Isabella Tabacchi 

"My favourite photography glove is the Markhof Pro 2.0 Photography Glove. It is the most comfortable glove I have used in photography and fits my hands well. They also keep my hands warm in all seasons, even in our cold, Canadian winters. I love the grip these gloves give me on my camera and the ability to access my camera’s dials and buttons easily by simply flipping up the magnetic finger caps." — Colleen Gara 

"I can’t choose between the Ipsoot and the Markhof Pro 2.0! There are both my best companions depending on how cold it is." — Aurore Alifanti 

"W's Nordic from Vallerret of course! Designed for women's hands. I have tiny hands and it's always difficult to find gloves that perfectly fits. I can't ask for better photography gloves." — Silvia Mozzon

"After many years of various gloves that I have had, I can say with certainty that Vallerret is absolutely synonymous with quality and comfort for every photographer. I have 4 pairs of Vallerret and my favorite model and the one I use the most is W’s Nordic." -Roksolyana Hilevych

Photo by Colleen Gara.

Is photography your main job or a side gig? 

"It is my main job...my life!." — Isabella Tabacchi

"Although wildlife photography is my absolute passion, I also currently work as a corporate lawyer. I’ve managed (so far) to be able to balance the two careers." — Colleen Gara

"Main job" — Aurore Alifanti 

"Photography isn't my main job, for now... But I'm planning on becoming a full-time photographer in the future. Fingers crossed!" — Silvia Mozzon 

"I am currently pursuing a dual career. I spend about 40% of my work time as a physician and 60% as a photographer. I work 3 days a week in medicine when I am not traveling for photography. As a radiologist, I analyze images to establish diagnosis and aid cure. As a photographer, I aspire to generate images that are a form of visual therapy and help to heal the mind." — Sapna Reddy

"Photography in general has been my main job for 10 years now. For a few years, I did ceremonial photography and for another seven years e-commerce photography. Landscape photography for the moment is a secondary job which I hope very soon to do as the main one, as I said before." -Roksolyana Hilevych

Photo by Aurore Alifanti.

What the most memorable experience you’ve had in photography? 

"For me, it was indelible the memory of the travel in Namibia, when I was under the stars without light pollution. The galaxies, the nebulae, the details of the Milky Way were so visible and looked very close to me." — Isabella Tabacchi 

"I have been really lucky to have many memorable experiences in the wild. One of my favourites happened a couple of years ago when I spotted what I thought was a coyote in a meadow while out snowshoeing. As I approached, I was surprised to discover it wasn’t a coyote but a lynx! Then another, a smaller shape appeared – a kitten. I spent over an hour with this female lynx and her kitten as they maneuvered through the forest, weaving in and out of the trees. Eventually, they stopped in a small clearing where they lay down to rest. They napped, groomed themselves and cuddled. After some time had passed, the mother stood up and slowly walked away. Her kitten continued to lay in the snow for another few moments before getting up and following her mother into the trees. It was such an amazing encounter and I felt fortunate to witness firsthand these special moments between a mother lynx and her baby." — Colleen Gara

"It is not one memorable experience, it is more the feeling I have when I capture I great shot. I see it on my camera and feel like a huge excitation. I am so happy in these moments, even more when the journey was hard to get the shoot. Like after a long and tiring hike in the snow." — Aurore Alifanti 

"I had many memorable experiences, but I think the best one was a four-day trip all over Tasmania (Australia): it was so wild, amazing, unbelievable. That land changed me and was the best photography trip so far." — Silvia Mozzon

"Early on in my career, I had gone to photograph the Redwood National Forest in Northern California. I had just started shooting and was still trying to learn the basics of my camera. As I walked through the forest well before dawn there was a quiet stillness. The Giant Redwood trees thousands of years old standing like silent giants. I walked down the trail that would lead me through the forest towards the beach below. Visibility was poor because of the coastal fog and as I walked it got progressively worse. Realizing the coast would be completely overcast I decided to climb higher in the forest and try to get above the fog. As I walked back through the forest the fog began to dissipate. The sun started to rise and all of a sudden the most spectacular scene unfolded before my eyes. The sun shot beams of light through the darkness of the fog illuminating the Giant Redwood trees in ethereal light. I fell to my knees and started shooting, the lower perspective accentuating the height of the trees. It was a spiritual moment and I felt a deep-rooted connection to the supernatural. The image I made that day is one of my all-time favorites. Years later when I was asked to provide images for a Breast Cancer center I chose this image amongst others and titled it as Hope. Across the World in about 80 countries worldwide this has been my most sold image. In the cancer center where it hangs, it has given a sense of hope to many a patient. Every time I receive a letter from a patient telling me how much they enjoyed seeing that image and how it gave them solace, I feel the same strong spiritual connection all over again. Since that time I have had other experiences where the beauty of nature has filled me with immense joy and gratitude. The first time I experienced that feeling however remains unforgettable." — Sapna Reddy

"Hard to say. Each photographic experience was important and memorable in some way. Surely the most "dearest" for me was 5 years ago a tent adventure for a week in the Carpathian mountains, probably because I miss my mountains and the people I shared this trip with." -Roksolyana Hilevych

Photo by Sapna Reddy.

What’s your least favorite aspect of photography?  

"When I have to wake up for the sunrise shooting because I hate to wake up early in the morning. But when I start to take images I become very happy!" — Isabella Tabachhi 

"My least favourite aspect of photography is being away from and missing my loved ones. I travel a lot for photography and am away from home quite a bit each year which can be tough." — Colleen Gara

"I'm a very shy person, photography allows me to express myself without saying anything. I show others how I see and feel the world around me. I hope that my photography inspires other people." — Silvia Mozzon

"I do not enjoy the hustle. In order to be a successful photographer with success being defined as fame and fortune, one has to go beyond the artistic pursuit and embrace the business aspect of photography. It is important to get the images seen by a larger audience, to network with potential clients, collaborate with brands, participate in social media platforms, promote sales etc. It’s a highly competitive field and without a strong hustle almost impossible to gain a share of the market. I wish I could just enjoy nature and create images and not have to worry about anything else. I could do that but then I would not be running a successful business. I believe that in order to be able to do the things we want to do, we first need to do the things we have to do." — Sapna Reddy

"If we consider landscape photography, a least favorite aspect is that sometimes you cannot predict the weather in the mountains that changes constantly and being in the middle of a thunderstorm or snowstorm is definitely not very pleasant."  -Roksolyana Hilevych

photo by Isabella Tabacchi Photo by Isabella Tabacchi.

1 Response

Sophie wesson
Sophie wesson

September 29, 2021

Proud day for a woman. thanks for sharing this with us.
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