the-35mm DMs: Zaira Durazo

When scrawling instagram for inspiration, it’s easy to left feeling a little cheated. With social media moguls claiming to have the ‘secret’ to the almighty Insta algorithm, photography accounts have begun to look samey and bland. Beautiful vistas and perfect portraits, edited to a tee, have become so common that they lose all their value.

However, when I came across Zaira Durazo’s page, I was intrigued. Her Vivian Maier inspired self portraits and unique use of mirrors give her photographs an introspective and intimate quality that seems to have gone amiss amongst the modern photography community.

I messaged her for a chat about her inspiration:


Hi Zaira, please introduce yourself to the-35mm readers.

My name is Zaira Durazo, I’m 22 and I am from Los Angeles, California , My passion for photography started when I was 10 years old. I have albums, full of pictures I would take with my disposable Kodak cameras, bought with my own allowance money.

I loved turning them in and having to wait a week to actually see my pictures. Ever since then I always carry a disposable camera with me. A half a year ago my brother gave me his film camera which is a Vivitar v300n.


What attracts you to film rather than digital?

It’s so different for me. One of the reasons I shoot film is because I feel like I cherish each frame and put more thought into a shot in film then I would do in digital. In digital you have infinite chances to retake a photo but on film I actually think and picture a shot in my mind.


Who/what has been your biggest photographic inspiration?

I have always had so much inspiration around me, whether it’s from my family and friends or photographers. One of my most recent favourite photographers at the moment is Vivian Maier, her work has inspired me a lot.


Oh yeah, b&w street photography right?

Yeah, and her self portraits as well.


Weren’t all of her photos discovered decades after she took them, in a storage unit? What do you think her story says about attitudes towards female photographers?

Yes her negatives were auctioned off into the hands of John Moloof. In which he scanned most of her film that we see today. I feel like she has a big impact on female photographers that know about her. She wasn’t really public about being a photographer she was a full time nanny but would always have a camera around her neck. Capturing the moments in streets of random lovers, children, and herself in mirrors. She gave me the inspiration to go out in public and photograph anything or anyone that caught my eye.

Vivian Maier

How would you normally feel about going out in public and taking pictures, do you ever feel anxious or nervous? 

My first time going shooting with my Vivitar, I took the metro to Downtown LA by myself. I walked around the city capturing shots of different buildings. I had anxiety at first, but had a lot of fun shooting by myself it is like therapy for me.


Do you have any rituals that you do, perhaps a playlist you like to listen to whilst shooting?

I have different playlists for different situations, but right now my favorite playlist has to be Latin Urban hits ; such as Maluma, Ozuna and Justin Quiles.
I have to have my air pods in while I’m shooting alone. I feel like shooting with music gets you pumped to go out and shoot.


Which work are you most proud of?

I would have to say this one is my favourite so far…



See all of Zaira’s posts on her Insta: @expozurezbyz

Keep up with the-35mm as we chat to another great film photographer next week.

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