Interview #19 - Nadia J. Mahfix


Nadia J. Mahfix is a conceptual photographer from Malaysia.

She is self-taught with a background in psychology from the International Islamic University, Malaysia. Through philosophy, music, literature and concepts of life and death, Nadia forged her own view of the world through the freeze frames of the camera.

You can find more of her work at her portfolioFacebookTumblr and Instagram

I also recently posted her Favourite Five and you can find it here

Tell me about yourself

I'm a self-taught photographer from Kuala Lumpur. I can't exactly pinpoint how long have I been into photography but I can tell you that I have always been into it way back when I was still a kid. 

What’s been happening into your life lately, especially since getting married?

I just had a group exhibition - “Khabar dan Angin: An Excursus on Faith” with fellow visual artists from various fields at the National Visual Arts Gallery, Kuala Lumpur last February. Prior to that I attended a short-term art residency in Kelantan. 'Twas an interesting experience. Other than that, nothing much.

What fascinates you in doing photography?

Photography helps me to escape into another world, where I can just be the silent observer & interpret my surroundings with a click on the camera. 

I’ve been checking out your work for awhile, and most of them look dark and gloomy. I guess how are you interested in those aspects?

I just have a strange fascination for all things “dark & gloomy” and I guess it shows in my works. 

And most of your images are monochromatic? 

90% of them, yes.

How does your surroundings influence you as a photographer?

At the core of my being, I guess I am a very sensitive person. So my surrounding tends to affect me and my works. And as I take photography as my source of therapy, my surrounding pretty much influence me as a photographer. 

How do you find the photography scene in Malaysia generally?

It's evolving and I'm seeing an increase in the number of young photographers. Which is pretty cool. I just hope they can bring something more creative and new to the works they are producing. And not be just another Instagram-photographer, if you get what I mean. 

How challenging is to be a photographer?

Almost all clients would tell you that they have “no budget”. 

Your portraiture work is fascinating. Do you have certain aesthetics in doing portraiture? Do you have certain preferences over subjects, lighting, locations?

Thank you! I usually shoot with my gut feelings. Although I do have an idea of what/how I want the outcome to be. Also, I don't shoot with flash, so I totally rely on natural lighting. 

You also have created few projects of yours. Maybe if you can describe from the start of the project and the time it got done

To start a project you'll have to have a reason. Ask yourself why do you want to do it, how and what is your goal for the project. For myself it depends on the project, if it is a commissioned project then you'll have to meet a deadline. So you gotta be more objective with your work but if it is a personal project, it tends to be a little more flexible.

You have shown your work in exhibitions and did few talks on photography. How important it is to showcase your work to public? 

That depends on where you want your photography to go. If you intend to share your works to the public I guess it's important. If you are only doing it for yourself, then you don't have to share it with the public.

Do you think people will get into your work?

That is totally up to them. If they don't, they don't but if they do, that's great.

What’s your favourite work of yours so far? 

I have to be honest, I don't have any favourite work of mine. You can say that I have a love-hate relationship with my works.

You also do live shows, and they’re pretty amazing. How did you get into shooting these live bands? 

Other than photography, I love music and I have always been attending local music gigs since I was a teenager, and I always have my camera with me. So it was more like, shooting for fun and my own collection. Plus, most of the people in the bands are friends and acquaintances of mine. So that made it easier to get access. 

Any music you’ve been listening to lately?

Whatever that my Spotify is suggesting to me - a lot of alternative rock mostly.

Is there any upcoming project for you? Anything you’ll look forward to in the future?

So far, nothing. How bleak!

Any last words?

For all you photographers out there, just be yourself & drop the cliches.