Questions & Answers with Nádia Maria

NadiaMaria2017 (1)
Nadia Maria 2017
Nádia Maria is a contemporary photographer currently residing in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her work has been featured in National Geographic and Paris Vogue. After featuring her stunning ethereal portraits in my previous posts Heavenly Bodies and Transformations I contacted Nadia who kindly agreed to an informal interview. Further information about this exciting young talent can be found at her website

Many thanks to my friend Jason Lock, himself a professional photographer, for his invaluable assistance and suggestions in relation to this interview.

AS: Your website gives the indication that you are professional trained, but by obscuring the informative text and concentrating on the creative element it suggests that inspiration is more important to you than technical acumen. Is this the case for yourself?

NM: Training has its importance, or rather, construction has its importance. However when I want to give concrete expression to an image that has suggested itself to my Self I have to, it a sense, deconstruct my training. Only then can the image be set free.

AS: Do you think that studying the creative arts is important for inspiring/aspiring photographers?

NM: I think everything you study, question, observe, believe you know, is important and collaborates with the image.

AS: Where would you say the major influences come from for you photography?

NM: Art, literature, meditation.

AS: Which artists and writers have provided you with inspiration?

NM: It depends a lot upon the moment. I’m always discovering new things, but I have some favourites: Rilke, Fernando Pessoa, Sylvia Plath, Alejandra Pizarnik, Borges, Murilo Mendes, Khalil Gibran, Hilda Hilst, Manoel de Barros, to name a few … I find that one thing leads to another, a piece of music will lead me to myths that leads me to philosophy. There is a whole universe of inter-connected inspiration out there.

AS: In your own field what photographers you admire?

NM: There are so many, but for their complete bodies of work it would be Sally Mann, Masao Yamamoto, Francesca Woodman.

AS: Of the photographers you mentioned I would be most familiar with Francesca Woodman (I have written an article called Angel about her), whose work leaves me with a sense of awe. When did you discover her work and is she a conscious influence?

NM: I discovered Woodman while I was at school. I have always enjoyed long expositions, and when I studied photography I used to make the exercises all “wrong”. I had an open shutter craze and one of my teachers said that I should take a look at her photographs; that I would identify with them. I felt an affinity, but in a different way than my friend thought I would.
I definitely admire her work but she isn’t a conscious influence. Woodman reflects the world that she saw and I reflect mine. Sometimes artists worlds cross but they are private reflections of particular kinds of self-knowledge.

AS: Where does that particular kind of inspiration come from in your work?

NM: From reflection, internal dialogues, dreams, the void…

AS: Do you create a narrative before creating the images – or – is it the case that you create images first then work a narrative around the picture?

NM: Usually there is a narrative before the image, but sometimes the images give me a narrative, however it is always a leap into the abyss.

AS: Do you use any analogue process in your work or are you totally digital?

NM: I use both.

AS: How does your use of analogue influence your work?

NM: I have a greater affinity with analogue as it what I started with, but it is becoming harder to work with today here in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My photographic thinking is built on analogue so even when I am using digital I keep what I can from the analogue process.

AS: When using digital, are you imagining the final image before actually capturing the image?

NM: Yes I usually see it in my mind beforehand, however sometimes there is an element of chance where the unconscious manifests itself.

AS: There is a major up take in photography due to the digital world and the access to smart phone technology. People consider themselves ever more creative and explore the world of Instagram etc – do you think that this hinders or promotes the conceptional/experimental genre of photography?

NM: Well, everything has its positive and its negative side, don’t you think?

AS: I do certainly agree that everything has a positive and negative side. What are the positives and negatives with the ever increasing popularity of social media on the arts?

NM: The most striking positive I think is the increased visibility and reach a work can have, and all instantaneously. A few years ago that wasn’t possible. The negative side, and unfortunately I have experienced this myself, is the devaluation of creativity, a lack of sensibility, a levelling effect.

AS: Where do you see your future as a photographer?

NM: Who knows where this will lead me. Maybe the photograph will cease to exist as it now. Maybe I will no longer feel the need to be a photographer.

AS: And finally (and this is an old chestnut) what advice would you give for future generation of image makers?

NM: Whenever I am asked I always quote Jung: “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” That about sums it all up.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


32 thoughts on “Questions & Answers with Nádia Maria

  1. Excellent. Great questions, fascinating answers. The innate quality (I’m not sure that’s the right word) of the images or the creation of the images. That the images suggests itself, comes from within. That is pretty cool. Did you choose the photos to feature? Because they’re fantastic. I’m completely uneducated in photographic technique but I certainly appreciate the vision and the skill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I asked Nadia if there were any photographs that hadn’t already been featured that she would like to feature and she sent me these which are all very recent.Glad you enjoyed, this is all new too me so I am a little worried. The questions are mainly down to my friend Jason.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you…don’t praise me too much because then I will imagine interviewing Ellen Rogers and Sammy Slabbinck and then holding a seance and talking to Man Ray and Lee Miller

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Excellent! How wonderful that she agreed to an interview! The questions and answers were really great. A nice insight into her process and sources of inspiration. Will have to get on my laptop to see the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Vic so glad you enjoyed, this is a bit of a departure for me but I liked doing something different. I have been remiss in checking up on my favourite sites (that means you) but I working on remedying that shortly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I liked it too. Maybe you can do more (with the living artists, lol). I’m not sure I’ve posted anything since you’ve been by… but thanks! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great interview. So much of what we do is instinctive. Training is one thing … applying that knowledge to the real world and blending with it and understanding it in our own small way is something else indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Roger, I am excited about this as it something I have never done before, but Nádia was wonderfully helpful and a lot of the credit goes to my photographer friend Jason. This is probably the post that I spent the most time on (you know I like to be finished with things quickly) but it was worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s a very good post. We need to talk, especially when we walk at the edge of the acceptable, the non-acceptable and the truly artistic. As true artists, we push the boundaries of what society accepts and understands. This can be very difficult, especially when culture retreats,instead of advancing..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Roger, I did enjoy it and would love to interview more visuals artists (writers explain themselves really), at some point. I think I should have been an art critic.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You are to a large extent an art critic, certainly in the field of surrealist art. More important, you are introducing that art to a wide range of people who would otherwise be unaware of it. The photography in particular is something of which I am very much unaware and I have been very taken with the photos you reproduce on your site.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It isn’t software, Nádia is a visual artist and her first language is Portuguese. It is very hard to talk in concrete terms about the very abstract source of creativity as it comes from a very deep and private source.


      1. It was joke. I don’t think there’s any software that does semiological analysis. I was just saying, as you guessed correctly, that I was having trouble decyphering her replies. But you cleared that up for me. Thanks to both of you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Interviewing dead artists through seance ? Did I read that right? That’s out of left field! I would be willing to bet it hasn’t been done before 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s