Photographer Interview: Nadirah Zakariya

It was Nadirah Zakariya‘s photographs of children that fixed my attention while aimlessly wandering the internet one night.

Seemingly frozen in time, each portrait captures the natural, uncorrupted beauty of Nadirah’s subjects.

There’s an innate sensuality in Nadirah’s photographs and I think your eyes too will be seduced. Follow Nadirah Zakariya on Twitter or read her blog.

D&B: Where are you from?

NZ: Born in Malaysia, I had a childhood in Texas, bravely struggled through adolescence in Kuala Lumpur, found my path in Japan, and realized myself in New York. A lot of my work revolves around the theme of the absence of the concept of home.

D&B: What kind of photography do you shoot and how did you get started – any “formal” training?

NZ: I photograph mainly portraiture, especially of women and children. I do have a BFA in Photography.

Eve, Copyright Nadirah Zakariya

D&B: What cameras or techniques do you use?

NZ: I shoot with my 35mm SLR and point and shoot a lot, but sometimes I do shoot with my DSLR as well. I love both analog and digital. I shoot with basically anything within reach when a I feel the urge to capture a moment, and this includes my cell phone.

D&B: Who are your mentors (in photography)?

NZ: I do not have a specific mentor but I am constantly inspired by everything and everyone around me and it is always a learning process. I do always go back to Sally Mann, Irina Ionesco and Francesca Woodman for inspirations and a reminder on what got me interested in photography in the first place.

Myra, Copyright Nadirah Zakariya

D&B: Have you experienced any setbacks or different treatment along your photography career that you would attribute to being a photographer of color? (this question is optional)

NZ: Not because of color but I do find myself having to prove myself more as a female photographer who looks younger than her actual age.

Hye, Copyright Nadirah Zakariya

D&B: When did you realize you could have a career in photography? Describe your journey towards becoming a working photographer.

NZ: It was something I stumbled into. I went to school for photography because it was something I wanted to explore and learn more about. During that age I could not even imagine myself being a working photographer!

All I wanted to do was create art and teach children. Interning around the photography and fashion industry opened up many doors and totally opened my eyes into the world of making photography into a career.

Working part time to support my living in NYC as a student also led me to photo-related jobs.

D&B: What do you hope to achieve with your photography?

NZ: I hope my photographs can spark some sort of emotion from the viewer.

Copyright Nadirah Zakariya

D&B: What’s your dream photography project?

NZ: I think it would be a dream to collaborate with some of the most creative souls out there where the project exudes nothing but positive energy, during the process and the vibe of the end project. I can only wish and hope that every project I work on is that way!

D&B: What’s the biggest (life) lesson you’ve learned through photography?

Make every moment count.

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