Photographer Zoya Lynch: 2014’s Queen of Storms

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.