Wednesday, April 8, 2015

30 Days of Inspiration! Day 8: Maajiedah Satardien

We ended the first week off with a super talented young artist only to start the second week off with another young and talented artist! Maajiedah was so kind enough to go into a bit more detail about things. I'm so very honored that she was so open about her experiences! That's what I wanted most out of these inspirational blogs/interviews. I wanted real and raw answers from people who have a strong passion for photography the same way I do.

1.Introduce yourself and the style of photography you think best represents your work (fashion, conceptual, fine art, dark art, new born, etc.)

My name is Maajiedah Satardien. I am Muslim and located in Cape Town,South Africa,and currently in my first year of studies in psychology,at the University of Cape Town. I am an 18 year old fine art and conceptual photographer.

2. How did you get into photography?

For as long as I can remember,I have scavenged through several different art media,trying to find a means of expressing my (what used to be) dark and twisted little soul. (I'd like to believe that I have made an immense amount of growth through my art ). As a child,happiness was something that never dared to say hello,and self-hatred was more-or-less the only thing that I bore. I channeled these dark feelings into whichever form of art was within my reach. For a while,I drew. And then I wrote. I wrote music,I wrote poetry,I did every single thing that I felt could serve as a relief. I created to be free of pain. At about the age of 15, I picked up a camera,simply because well,it was there. My brother went on a trip to China and brought it back home. And with this 'foreign' tool (I had little-to-no idea what to do with it),I promised myself I would create beauty. All I wanted,was to be good at something. I started with simply taking images of my siblings. Eventually,I realized that my photography could be used as an art and that through it,my dreams,and fears,and the darkest parts of my soul,could be expressed and worked through. And since the moment I picked up the beautiful little foreign tool,I vowed to never set it down again. 3. What inspires you as a photographer?

All my works are deeply personal. Every image is drenched in hours of tears,and thousands of stories. It may not easily be seen by the viewer,but it is felt by me,and that is more than enough to keep me going. I create because I want to grow. There are so many parts of me that until now,I haven't yet had the chance to confront,but I am comforted by the knowledge that those exact parts will one day be portrayed through a photograph. All my concepts come from within - be it a portion of my childhood (most of my images revolve around this), a feeling of lonesomeness,or simply the desire to be something worth sharing with the world. I want to have a voice and I want to be able to scream and sing my experiences to the world. My art allows me to do that.

4. What is your favorite photo you've taken and why?

"To Sprout From Within"
The answer to this question will have to be split. My favorite image that I ever created is 'To sprout from within' - an image focusing on growth and flourishing. I feel as if I am at the stage of my life where my soul is so much stronger,and so much more vibrant than what it has ever been. This image is a mirror reflection of the person I want to be. I want to always be as strong as the character portrayed,I want to always be as beautiful as the character portrayed,and I want to live a life that is filled with flowers and all things pretty- all coming from within. However, apart from the above-stated,I love this image simply because I love the way it looks. And this is where the split will come in. Despite 'To Sprout from within' being my favorite image,it is not necessarily my favorite concept. 


My favorite concept is most certainly that of 'untouched'- the sequel to 'To sprout from within'. As a child,all that I ever was...was touched. This image was the first time throughout both my childhood and adolescence,that I confronted this issue. This image has allowed me so much growth and despite the fact that I am not necessarily fond of the way it looks,I am in love with it- simply because of the fact that it is so flawed,and so raw,and so much of the damaged and touched little girl that I've always been. And even through all of its rawness and flaws,it still portrays strength. Through this image,I am able to step outside of myself and view a photograph of a girl that is not me,just bearing my stories. Through this image,I remain untouched.

5. What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?

In my artist manifesto,I state that all I create is for those who have been touched,those who have felt feelings of self-loathing to the extent where they contemplate putting blade to flesh,and for those who do not know that throughout life,there will always be light. I want my work to be a symbol of hope. I want my images to be a reminder of the fact that pain can be so consuming,but in the end,I am living and I am breathing enough to be creating. There is always going to be darkness,in the same way that there will always be light. But I want you all to know that there will always,always be beauty,and it will always exist within oneself. I want my viewers to know that it is okay to hurt and to feel as if the world on their shoulders has collapsed. I want them to know that it is okay to want to let go of life. But I want my viewers to know to never give up. I want them to know to always believe in a thing called Hope. I know that my messages of hope may often be blurred by the fact that all of my images are mostly dark,but each image is coupled with a poem - a conversation between the various versions of my own soul- ,propagating these ideas of perseverance,hope,and self-worth. 

6. What gear do you use? What's your most used lens and why?

My gear is extremely limited,and I am still using the same camera that I picked up at the age of 15. I shoot with a canon1000D body (also known as a Rebel XS,according to Google) (My knowledge on camera equipment is quite putrid). Despite the fact that many fellow photographers look down at me for what I shoot with,this has never been too much of an issue for me,as I am a firm believer that art does not require the best of tools. Create with your heart and soul and it will be magical - no matter the gear you have used. The lens I shoot with most frequently is a 50mm 1.8. A lovely photographer friend of mine recommended it and seeing that its not too costly ,I went out and bought it. I am always happy with the results it gives me, and so I have never moved away from it.

7. Who would you say is your favorite photographer? Why?

My favorite photographer is, without a doubt,the lovely Brooke Shaden. Her work and vibrant soul has always been a source of endless inspiration and is what pushed me into the direction of conceptual photography in the first place. She creates the most magical fairy-tales through her images and allows one to effortlessly slip into a beautiful surreal world.

8. Have you dealt with any negativity as a photographer, if so, how did you overcome it? 

Most certainly. When I started creating conceptual works,all I ever heard about it was "you work is too dark and too weird and too freaky. What's wrong with you?". At the beginning,these words hurt. But before long I realized that it didn't matter when people hated my work- simply because despite the hundreds of people who hated it, there were at least five people that felt inspired by it. There were at least five people who could relate to it. There were at least five people who didn't give up because of it- or so I'd like to believe. And on top of all of this, I felt expressed through my work. I felt free to be whoever I wanted to be. And I knew that I didn't have to hurt if I didn't want to.

9. Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? If so, what is it and why is it your favorite?

Its more of a portion of a poem than an inspirational quote,but I'd like to share it nonetheless. ~ "Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

In the same way that I have mentioned above that I want my viewers to believe in never giving up and to always know that there will be light,this poem,since the time I had first read it,has reminded me of this very same thing. I will not go gently into darkness. I will not allow myself to be overcome by it. There is light. There will always be light.

"Whisperer of the Weeds"

10. What would be the best advice you could give to someone reading this interview?

To you,lovely reader,I say just this:

I know you may feel as if I don't know you,as if no one does. I know there are days where you are curled up into a bundle of just hurt and darkness. I know there are days where you can take no more. I know.

I know there are days where you find happiness in the slightest things. I know there are days where you feel free and you feel loved and you feel magical. I know.

Take it all- ALL of it. Do not deprive yourself of the beauty of this world by fearing the days you'll be curled into that little,pitiful ball. Love it,instead. When you are broken,know that the only thing that could come of it is growth. And never give up.

To those of you starting photography- I know you sometimes feel that you're not good enough. Thing is. You are. Go on and create beauty. We,the world,are waiting to hear your name.

To those of you who are creating and who are reaping the fruits of your art- never stop. You touch lives. Know that.

11. Any final words you'd like to say?

I'd like to end this interview with expressing my gratitude for this medium- it has allowed me so much more growth than you could ever imagine- ; for the opportunity to be a part of this lovely community of inspiration; for the love you guys give me and my work,and for the fact that out of the hundreds of you reading this,at least five of you are touched by it. And that five is more than enough. I am so honored by this interview.

I'd love to extend a warm thank you to Maajiedah for being so open and sharing her personal journey with not only me, but everyone who is reading! This interview has touched my heart in more ways than one. I'll say this again, equipment doesn't mean anything if you don't have a passion to create. You can always have the best of the best and still do nothing with it. You create amazing works with what you have and that in itself is amazing in my eyes! Never give up your passion, you can only improve! Don't let people tell you that you'll never get anywhere, that your work is weird, or that you don't have anything to say. This interview is proof enough that you in fact do have a voice - you have a story - you have something to say. I can't tell you enough at how happy I am that you went into detail with this. 

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