Re-discovering the homeland

07.12.2020 | Author: Alina Rudya/Bell Collective

Martina Bisaz stands on a small wooden jetty. In the background a breathtaking landscape can be seen.
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Photographer and illustrator Martina Bisaz goes on the road in the Swiss Alps with She’s Mercedes.

Martina Bisaz sits on a crash barrier. The Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC is next to her. Mountains and a lake can be seen in the background.
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Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 7,6–7,5 l/100 km; CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert: 175–171 g/km.¹

In the new Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC, photographer Martina Bisaz took an autumn journey around the most scenic passes and roads in Switzerland. While effortlessly driving the cinematic curves, she described her professional journey, as well as sharing some of her favourite travel destinations with She’s Mercedes.

Martina used to work as a professional illustrator in Zurich before quitting her 9 to 5 job and moving to a small village in the Swiss Alps with a total population of only 48 people. Currently, she is a freelance travel photographer, and her Instagram page @kitkat_ch, where she shares pictures from both her home country and international destinations, is followed by thousands of people from around the world.

Tell us a little about your artistic path. You worked as an illustrator for a while. What made you change your career?

I studied scientific illustration at the art school of Zurich. After my Bachelor’s degree, I started to work for the archaeology department of the canton Zurich, drawing artefacts for their books. It was a very interesting job, I learned new things about history every day, but after 8 years, I felt it was time for something new. I had been using Instagram for a couple of years already, had grown an impressive following and had already done some assignments for brands and tourism boards while still working full time.

The time was limited though, as I had only 4 weeks of holiday during the year. It was definitely not enough for all the travel collaborations I got offered. That is when I decided that it was time to quit my 9 to 5 job and do photography full time.

How would you describe your photography? What is the most important thing for you when you are taking a picture?

I like simplicity in photos, and a good composition is one of the most important things for me in a picture. It must have come from my scientific illustration studies, where composing an image is a crucial subject. Also, I want to transfer an emotion to my audience, a pleasant feeling about a specific place I photograph.

What is your biggest source of artistic inspiration?

My biggest source of inspiration is nature in all kinds of shapes. Mountains and deserts impress me the most. But of course, I also get inspired by different artists on Instagram.

Martina Bisaz stands next to the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC and in the background you can see mountains.

You live in a tiny village in Switzerland with only 48 inhabitants. Does this kind of rural lifestyle influence your artistic vision?

My artistic vision is not necessarily affected by the rural lifestyle. On the other hand, I need the quietness and alone time to recharge my batteries, especially after a longer trip behind the steering wheel. I am an introvert, therefore crowds and busy city life exhaust me. Living in a quiet, small village in the middle of the Alps is the perfect place for me.

Martina Bisaz is standing in front of a hotel with the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC.
Martina Bisaz stands with the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC in front of a wooden house.

You have 285K followers on Instagram and you make money with your photography. Do local people from your village realise what it is that you do?

I would say many older people here do not know exactly what social media is or how it works. Moreover, in small villages like mine, a lot of gossip exists. When a young person moves into a closed community, with new ideas and a job which most people think is just a hobby – you get many questions and comments.

You have travelled a lot, usually with a car or a campervan. What are the most essential things to take care of when you are on a road trip?

When I plan a longer car trip, I always make sure that I let the vehicle get checked by my mechanic before the journey. I often go to places with no internet or mobile connection, so sometimes I even take spare engine parts with me for emergencies. In addition, I usually pack everything I need to live for a few weeks. That includes my camera gear, and some vegan food supply.

The breathtaking landscape of the Swiss Alps.

You often travel solo – also in countries where solo female travels are not so popular. Do you have any advice for women about travelling alone?

My advice to solo women is: don’t be afraid. If you travel with fear, you will not be able to enjoy your trip. I also believe that negative energy and fear will attract negativity. Of course, that does not mean that you can act as if you are a superwoman and invulnerable. A healthy common sense is a must, so I would recommend doing your research in advance: check the local traditions, read about other people’s experiences.

Iran and Morocco seem to be on the top of your list when making a road trip. What exactly attracts you there?

Iran and Morocco are definitely two of my favourite travel countries. Iran is often portrayed as a very dangerous and backwards place in most people’s heads. The media does not help with that image, but I would recommend going there and getting your own impression. I felt extremely safe in Iran, and people there are most welcoming and helpful. The landscape is out of this world and the country is very rich in history and culture. One would need years to discover all the corners of this beautiful place.

In Morocco I also felt safe, even though as a solo-travelling woman you should be prepared for the constant attention from the male population and local sellers. I would recommend not getting intimidated by this and standing your ground. As a traveller, you always need to be aware of local traditions and customs – some things do not change as fast as we want them to change.

Both Iran and Morocco are huge and have lots of desert space where you can be just by yourself, which is a perfect situation for someone as introverted as myself.

Martina Bisaz stands leaning against the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC and looks at photos on her camera.
Martina Bisaz gets into the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 4MATIC. In the background you can see a small church on a hill.

What were the most unusual souvenirs you have brought from your travels?

Most of the souvenirs I bring home are local handmade products. I love to have beautiful pieces of memories from all over the world at my house. I also rescued my two cats from the streets in Morocco. They totally adapted to the life in Switzerland and even have their own Instagram account – @poo.fighters.

What do you do when you are not travelling?

When I am not on the road, I enjoy the calmness and cosiness of my home. I love spending time on the couch with my cats. I usually work on photography projects, which I can do from home, or travel just in the area.

Martina Bisaz swims in a lake. Next to her a rowing boat floats in the water.

Switzerland is a breathtaking country. What are the top 3 places in your home country you would recommend visiting?

Honestly, I never get tired of the Swiss scenery. It is definitely one of the most beautiful countries and I am happy to live here.

There is a reason why the Matterhorn is the most photographed mountain in the world. It is simply breathtaking and incredibly impressive. A photograph can never give the same feeling and impression as the real thing does, though. That is why you need to see this majestic peak with your own eyes.

The Engadine is a valley with so many beautiful spots and hikes. It is absolutely spectacular, especially in autumn when the larch trees turn yellow and red.

If you prefer the Mediterranean climate, you should definitely visit Ticino. You will find mountains, lakes, rivers and even a mild subtropical climate.

We can only share Martina’s fascination with her own home country. The majestic mountain ranges, the pristine blue lakes and the endless road curves which call for adventures – all these inspire to reflect and create. Naturalist John Muir once said: “Going to the mountains is going home.” Martina Bisaz lives by this quote in all the senses.

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Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 07.12.2020.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

6 Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.