It’s been a good season for action sports photographer Zoya Lynch.
Based out of Revelstoke, British Columbia, Zoya got her first big win in a photo submission in Whistler’s Out of Bounds: Tales From the Backcountry photography competition. Attendees of the exhibit voted for their favorite image, and chose Zoya’s shot as their favorite.
Just a few months later, she nabbed another first place win at Whistler’s Deep Winter Photo Challenge. Along with five other photographers, Zoya was then given a 72-hour period to shoot and edit a three-to-five minute slideshow. The event culminated in a presentation of all six shows in front of a sold-out crowd. The judges chose Zoya’s project, “Winter Canvas,” as the best-in-show, awarding her the coveted title “Queen of Storms.”
The show explores Whistler’s less-known artist community, telling the stories of the creative individuals who live in town, love the mountains, and produce exceptional art. I had the chance to ask Zoya about the show, her Deep Winter experience, and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say.
The Clymb: It seems like you had a big break on the scene with your first place win at the Out of Bounds: Tales From the Backcountry photo competition earlier this season. How did you get involved with that competition, and did it push you to compete in Deep Winter?
Zoya Lynch: It was my second year competing at Out of Bounds: Tales from the Backcountry, although I never really thought of it as a contest. To me, it was more of an art show and an opportunity to showcase my work in Whistler. A month after the show was over, we got an email announcing the “winner”, and I won! I was so surprised! It gave my work a bit of attention and credibility and the next thing I knew, I was invited to Deep Winter.
The Clymb: Had you had any involvement in Deep Winter prior to this year, either as a team member or a spectator? Did you know what to expect going in?
Zoya Lynch: I haven’t officially been part of a team before. But I knew what it was about. I’ve watched every single slideshow from the past 5 years.
The Clymb: How far ahead of time did you come up with your concept? How did you reach out to the artists involved in the show—did you know them beforehand?
Zoya Lynch: I came up with my concept in December after brainstorming like crazy. I wanted something unique and simple that would capture the audience. I reached out to Vanessa Stark and Kris Kupskay on Facebook and they were on board right away. I had never met Vincent Massey but my mom suggested him and I sent him an email, he was super keen too. It all came together pretty seamlessly so I knew I was on the right path!
The Clymb: Did things go as planned during your Deep Winter shoot? Any surprises—good or bad?
Zoya Lynch: The 72-hours of shooting was actually pretty mellow. I created a schedule the week before and everyone stuck to it really well! My sister Izzy was really supportive through the whole thing. She was one of my athletes, camera assistant, PR person, and she kept me well fed and made sure I had my daily dose of coffee. The artists were also really excited to be a part of it, so the vibe was super fun. The editing on the final night was a little crazy. I only slept for 3 hours.
The Clymb: What advice would you give to photographers who are thinking about participating in a future Deep Winter?
Zoya Lynch: Do it! Jump in. It’s the ultimate challenge. The only advice that I would give is to edit your own show. Hiring an editor simplifies things, but it removes you from the final piece. The top three photographers at Deep Winter this year were the only ones who did their own edit.
The Clymb: Would you consider doing Deep Winter again to defend your title, or are you moving on to other things?
Zoya Lynch: Maybe. I heard a rumor about a “Heavy Hitters” competition at some point! Basically they would bring back all the winners from the past nine years to battle it out. I can’t really imagine competing against Blake Jorgenson and Jordan Manley… sounds intense!
The Clymb: A little diversion: you’ve been involved with trying to get women’s ski jumping into the Olympics for some time now. Thoughts on the fact that it was—finally—added to the Games?
Zoya Lynch: It’s amazing that it’s finally included. All those women have worked so hard.
The Clymb: Who have been your biggest supporters along the way?
Zoya Lynch: My sponsors! Roxy, G3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort. My family and friends and my awesome boyfriend Isaac!
To check out more of Zoya’s work, head over to her official website.