Cover Photo credit: Nadirah Zakariya

When it comes to capturing emotion in her pictures, photographer Nadirah Zakariya produced her most captivating images when she is in front of the camera. Her most memorable series was featured on Vogue Italia when she made herself the subject in her immense portfolio to bring awareness to vitiligo; a condition of pigment loss in some areas of the skin.

With 'Instagrammable' coined as a common phrase, in some ways all of us are photographers whenever we update our social media. It does however, take several lessons to truly begin serious photography and Nadirah Zakariya is more than keen to share her insight on what the art form means to her. 

Managing master classes for budding photographers, Nadirah guides them on how to best execute visual poetry and potraits achieved through her projects like the Two Mountains Photography series involving town residents near the iconic Mount Fuji which was exhibited at Ilham Gallery Kuala Lumpur

Her latest project was photographing Subject Matter co-founder Liezel Strauss for She Innovates Global program exhibiting portraits of women innovators on public spaces in New York and London. In this interview, she highlights three tips for photographers and recounts the first time she developed a picture. 

1. When was the first time you held a camera?

I don’t remember an exact moment but I do remember when I first fell in love with photography. It was the first photograph I ever printed in the dark room and it was a black and white self-portrait. The moment my face appeared from a blank piece of paper was like magic. I will never forget that moment.

2. How do you explain photography in your own words?

Photography to me is where emotion and science and technology merge.

3. Do you change the type of camera based on the development of your skills?

Not at all, I will have my “seasons” on whatever camera I am using at that moment but it is usually whatever is available or whatever is best for a particular project. But one thing is for sure, I will gravitate towards film and lighter cameras if I had to choose.

4. Your work mainly consists of portraits of people and yourself, how is the process different than shooting immobile objects or sceneries?

To be honest, the process for me is not much different. I went through a whole year where I only photographed flowers but I treated them like portraitures. I try to inject some sort of emotion in all the works that I do, may it be landscape, still life or portraits.

5. Is there a trend in photography that you hope will fade soon?

Not that I am aware of (laughs). I think trends are fun, and if it gets people excited to photograph then I think that’s cool.

6. If you could leave three tips for a beginner in photography, what would they be?

Shoot. Shoot. And continue shooting! Shoot anything and everything, have a camera with you at all time. The only way to figure out your personal style and what you enjoy shooting is through photographing a lot.

Follow more of Nadirah Zakariya's work on her Instagram @nadirahzakariya

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