Having experienced the serenity of Japan and the hustle and bustle of New York, the world inspires Nadirah Zakariya’s photography
Seeing the world through the eyes of the ever-eclectic Nadirah was an absolutely terrific experience. Just last year, her collaboration with Philip Morris International transported us into a utopian world; one where the world is free from the harms of cigarettes.
In that fantasy, Nadirah fashioned the flowers as anyone would a cigarette. Curled fingers around a stalk, held laxly between the lips and petals in an ashtray, a mimicry of how tobacco ashes defiles. This was her very own ‘unsmoked’ world.
Growing up, Nadirah had always known that she was going to be in the
creative space. After school ended, she travelled to Japan for a year-long student exchange program. There she began taking photos simply because it was a compelling environment and she wanted to have something tangible to remember the town by.
What sealed the deal for Nadirah was that one resounding moment, set in a dark room, where she was developing her photographs. Once the image appeared, that was it for Nadirah—she knew then that this was her calling.
You can really see the sparkle in her eyes when she talks about photography. To her, photography is where art meets science. Perhaps her most favourite shot was the first black and white self-portrait that she shot in the dark room, one which was extremely pivotal for her life and career.
For now, she finds fulfillment through her self-portraits revolving around vitiligo, which is a skin condition that causes the loss of skin colour in blotches. If she could make even one person with similar skin conditions feel less alone, then to Nadirah, she has done her job.
Art Direction: Steve Chua
Photography: Robin Liew