Nadirah Zakariya

The photographer chats to Dazed about growing up globetrotting, her current fascination with nostalgia in her latest work and staying true to her vision

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Born in Malaysia, raised in the U.S and Japan, and currently forging an impressive photography career in the New York, Nadirah Zakariya is the perfect example of the modern multicultural creative. Her influences are as eclectic as her non-specific geographical upbringing, which whether she intended for it or not, comes through in her thoroughly modern sensibility and approach to her work. 

Currently showing her first solo exhibition 'Daughters Ago' at Lomography Gallery Store in New York, she is also busily preparing herself for a new project where she'll be taking on the role of cinematographer for an up and coming film and various collaborative photography ventures. Dazed managed to talk with the busy lady about her new work, future projects and her love of using an analog.

Dazed Digital: Tell me a bit about yourself.
Nadirah Zakariya: My name is Nadirah. I was born in Malaysia, but have also lived in Texas, Georgia, as well as Japan. Right now I am working and living in New York. I think having lived in different places as I was growing up has definitely made an impact in my artwork.

DD: Your work has a very dreamy, entrancing feel to it. Is there a particular theme or style that you consciously try to achieve through your work?
Nadirah Zakariya: Thank you! There is not a specific style I try to aim for usually, I just try to shoot the best way I can for each project and stay as true to my visions as possible. It is really interesting to see some thread of consistency through my work, or even in other artists' body of work. Two people can use the exact same camera and film shooting the exact same subject but the results are always different. That is really special.

DD: What can we expect from your first solo exhibition?
Nadirah Zakariya: The exhibition is called "Daughters Ago"- imagery of sisters now for those to come. All the photographs are of sisters, both blood related and not. I wanted to capture the intimacy and special bond between sisters. I have three other sisters of my own so this project is very personal to me. Lately I have been obsessed with the idea of memories and nostalgia, so I felt the need to create something for our future great great grand daughters! You can expect alot of juicy saturated colours as well as dark grainy black and whites of both old and new works. There are 20 works all together, and it is on view throughout July at the Lomography Gallery Store in Gramercy, New York.

DD: How did the ‘Liminars’ collection come about? What was the inspiration behind it?
Nadirah Zakariya: Liminars came from the concept of "liminality" which, in short, means the state of in between. I find this idea compelling as I tend to always feel that I am neither here nor there, especially having lived in different places growing up. The sense of being home has always been absent, and replaced by the feeling of disconnect. I tried to depict this theme in my work by photographing the children through textured glass. They are caught in between two worlds; reality and the dream state.

DD: Sum up your style of photography in three words?
Nadirah Zakariya: Raw, emotional, personal.

DD: What kind of camera do you prefer shooting with?
Nadirah Zakariya: I love shooting with analogue! I like light weight 35mm cameras because not only are the results beautiful but I love to be able to move around freely when I am shooting. My baby is the Lomo LC-A, most of my favourite shots are taken with that camera.

DD: What projects do you have up and coming?
Nadirah Zakariya: I have a very exciting project coming up very soon where I'll be making my transition from stilll photography to motion & sound. I'm going to be the cinematographer of an all-girl cast and crew film directed by one of the most amazing artists I know named Jessica Nicole Collins. The idea is the film is about women dealing with the loss of important women figures in their lives.

It will be a therapeutic and emotional film called, "When You Leave The Earth". The theme of the film is something I truly believe in and seems like the perfect subject for me to work on, considering it is my first time filming. I also just finished collaborating on a photo project with fashion designer Savannah Wyatt and sculptor James Elliott Moore. I love collaborating with other artists and seeing how new ideas can be born when you feed off each others' creative energy. It really is a beautiful thing.

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