Different people, different paths. We've all gotten into photography in our own ways and that's part of the beauty of all of it. This discovery and desire to create something that we can see and hold is a shared experience for all of us who shoot. But beyond this common thing, we have our own personal stories about how and why we picked up a camera.
For photographer Safia Nadim, the beginning had a lot to do with love and the end of it. It's a bittersweet melody but Safia continues to play it and we can't help but hum along. She has quite a sunny disposition and it radiates through her photographs. The photos she takes reflect her emotions and maybe that's why her shots indeed look like frozen memories from her life.
Hi, Safia and welcome to the Magazine! What do you do and what got you started in photography?
Until recently, I was a visual merchandiser at a textile shop but then I got sick and couldn't do the job because of my physical limitations. I’m healthy again now and I would like to reorient myself in a different way – I want to work with children or refugees. We'll see how that pans out.
To be honest a heartbreak got me started in photography. That was last year. I met a guy, he gave me my first camera, it was a Smena Symbol – a beautiful camera to start taking analogue pictures and it costs only €5. The guy left and I got more into photography and fell more and more in love with analogue.
I felt very lonely then. The only thing that gave me strength was photography. It forced me to go out and I taught myself everything. I always wanted to get better and better. It was like a therapy for me.
What is your favorite subject to shoot?
I don’t have a favorite subject. I just always have my camera with me. Sometimes I see things I want to preserve for myself; sometimes they're moments or beautiful scenes I see. But I also love to take pictures of lonely people or lost places.
Why pick photography as your medium? Why shoot film in this day and age?
I just feel that analogue photography is real and this whole process always makes me happy - to have the results in my hand is a good feeling. It transports so many emotions and you can experiment so much with it. It just never gets boring. For me, it’s like showing my own reality. The way I see things and how I see beauty. I can freeze this moment. It’s like a mosaic of time.
Who are your favorite photographers?
I don’t really have a favorite photographer since I don’t want to be influenced too much. There are so many good artists on Instagram and you can get an overload of inspiration.
We love the way you use colors in your film photographs. They look so warm and inviting. Was this a style you were going for?
I don’t think too much when I take pictures so I don’t have a specific composition. I kind of get the feel of the situation and take a picture. I use my emotions. Also, I didn’t think about a certain style. I love night shots and I also love taking pictures on sunny or rainy days. It always depends on my mood. Often, it’s my loneliness and loss which I transport in my pictures.
I'm a very visual and highly-sensitive person, so for me, it’s the best way to transport all the emotions I feel in the pictures.
How do you compose your frames? Do you have a specific composition structure that you follow?
For me, the composition is important on Instagram - how it all looks together in the feed. It’s just like in my old job. Like a window in a store. It’s the first impression although every picture stands for its own. But everything has to come together to tell a story.
What are your favorite films?
I always use Kodak Gold 200. I started with that and I loved it but I also love the Lomo CN 800. Right now, I haven't had the opportunity yet to try many film varieties.
What inspires you to take photographs?
My inspiration comes from my emotions like I already said. But also from this beautiful world.
How do you stay motivated (creatively) during this lockdown period?
Staying motivated during this lockdown isn’t that easy. I took a lot of pictures of my cats because we had to stay home. But for a time we were also allowed to go out alone so I also got to take many nature photos. I try to use the current situation and document things for myself.
What does a perfect day look like for Safia Nadim?
Oh, a perfect day? That’s a long time ago. Hard question. But being with loved ones on a beach, eating good food, and having my camera with me. Just feeling grateful and fulfilled...
Any last words for our readers?
In the end, I would like to say that it doesn't matter if someone says you can't do something. Do what you want to do and do it with passion and love. You don’t have to have the best camera or know everything about photography. I only want people to feel my pictures and not just to see them with their eyes. I want them to remember that the only very important thing is love in this world.
We would like to thank Safia for letting us feature her images in the Magazine. You can follow her on Instagram to see more of her work.