You know that moment when you’re falling asleep, almost dreaming and you start to see images that are a bit surreal, that you cannot quiet explain? The work of Brazilian photographer Nádia Maria reminds us a lot of these mysterious moments. In this interview, she tells us a little bit about what is behind her unique photographs.
Hello Nádia! Please, tell us a little bit about yourself and your work. How did you first get involved with photography?
I got interested in photography from an early age on, looking at books and magazines. When I was 7 years old, I started taking pictures of my dolls. I built up sceneries, created poses, and had my dolls as models. It was when I first realized that photography is a form of communication; mine with myself and with the world. After that, I took pictures of my cousins, friends… But the camera always was my favourite “toy”. Back then, it was something inaccessible at my age. To have a camera and a film all for myself was my first sensation of freedom.
Do you photograph with analogue/digital or both? What do you prefer and why?
I photograph analogue and digital. I started photographing in analogue, studies analogue photography for a few years and started working with analogue photography. So maybe that’s why I identify more and have more affection for the analogue photography. I started with digital just a few years ago, bought my first digital camera about 5 years ago. Today I work with both, it depends on the kind of work what I need to carry out. But even while working digitally I try to put in as much of the analogue as possible in it. I don’t like to click a lot, I like to think well and long before I decide to click, I don’t like to check out the photo on the viewer, I believe that I think and work better with analogue, so I try not to lose that too much.
How do you edit your photos? How much is done in post-production and how much develops while taking the picture?
I think that 90 or almost a 100% develops while or before I take the picture. I need to see what I want to transmit and most of the time I’m already seeing what I want, so sometimes I direct the photograph so it delivers what I’m seeing behind it. Even a photograph that needs post-production for a final purpose, it has to be already created by the click, if not; it ends up not working out for me. It has to have this connection.
Your work contains a lot of poetry and mystery. What inspires you?
I think my work feeds off everything I am, of everything I read, study, of my thoughts and pursuits, of everything… I really like literature, philosophy, science, mythology and so on. Therefore, I think this ends up being visible in my photos. Poetry in particular I think is my main source of inspiration. I see my work as poetry, my photos as poems… I don’t believe very much in the world as it is out there, how it presents itself. So maybe it’s that.
Who are the people in your photography? Do you usually work with models (professionals) or friends?
Normally they’re my friends, relatives, people who I have a deeper connection with. I work with various models too but even then, I have to have some time with them and a deeper involvement before getting a good result.
Which photographers inspire you? Do you have an idol?
I don’t think I have idols. I have people who I identify with, or people who touched me deeply. In photography, I really like Masao Yamamoto, Clarence H. White, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henry Peach Robinson, George Seeley, Imogen Cunningham, Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann, to name a few…
Do you have a favourite photo of yours?
I don’t think so, each one represents a period of my life, a reflection, each one has its own particular meaning… I think that all of them has their importance, their moment.
Can you tell us on what you’re working on at the moment or which projects we can expect?
I have a few projects, but I’m still studying so nothing is certain yet, but I’m also editing my book. I’m working on an artisanal book which I’ve been thinking of publishing for a long time but I end up not doing it, so I’ve been focused on that for the last couple of months.