10 Questions with Nadya Makay
-written by Nat Richmond
When were you introduced to the Art of photography?
I was introduced into the art of photography when I was a little girl, probably around the age of 9. I grew up in a rural area, on a 7-acre piece of land with fields of farmland and wildlife surrounding our property. I spent most of my childhood outside. I grew to love and appreciate the little details of things. I could stare for hours at the trees, the way the bark looked up close and the beautiful landscape the trees created when gazed at from afar. I have a very large family, one of 10 children. That being said, we did not have a lot of money laying around for fancy things like cell phones, cameras, or even the internet. Even though all my friends had these things, I did not pay too much attention to it because I loved spending my time outside and admiring the beauty of the natural environment around us. Sometimes I think that is where I get my strong attention to detail from. I loved looking at other photographers’ work in magazines and even pieces that were framed in restaurants and doctors’ offices. When I was 14, I saved up enough money to buy an iPod touch. Getting that white iPod touch was when my love for photography really took off. I spent hours a day outside photographing the water from the stream and pond behind our house, the insects on the trees, the daffodils that blossomed in the spring, and the sunrises that painted such beautiful colors across the sky. My father would always catch me sneaking in and ask what I was doing outside so early in the morning. I would show him the images I captured on my small little iPod and he would always respond, “nice.” Back then, I thought it was just a phase, an outlet to express myself and spend my long boring days outside with nature, but now that I am 23 years old, I can safely say that was only the beginning of my love for this art. I truly believe photography is so much more than a picture. It is a moment captured in time, and that absolutely amazes me.
Name a photographer who has inspired you the most?
I know this might sound crazy, but I hardly ever look at the artist’s name when observing a photograph. I get so caught up in the photograph. That being said, no names come to mind when I am asked which photographer has inspired me the most. Don’t get me wrong, there are incredibly talented photographers out there, and I am sure that if I paid attention, I would have a couple favorite photographers in mind, but I find inspiration in everything around me. I find inspiration when walking down the street. The people I pass, the buildings I walk by, and the reflections in the pothole puddles from the sidewalk. I find black and white photography particularly beautiful. The way the light and contrast can emphasize a photograph is just so beautiful to me. I also have a knack for history. I love looking at old photographs. I like to make up stories in my head. Create an entire lifetime story for the people captured in the photo. I like to imagine what emotions they might have been feeling, what they were going through at the time, and what the world was like. Again, I say a photograph is an incredible thing, as it is a moment captured in time.
What's one word you would use to describe your photography?
One word I would use to describe my photography is “real.” I am not really one to edit things in or out of a photo. I love capturing real moments.
How do you inspire your creativity to try new things?
I inspire my creativity by going outside or going to new places. Most of my photos are taken without intention. What I mean by that is I usually do not plan ahead to go out and take photos, most of my favorite photographs were taken from my iPhone because I was just out and about and something caught my eye. I also love going to museums and looking at photography displayed there. I also sometimes catch myself spending hours on Instagram scrolling through other photographer’s Instagram pages. The beauty humans can capture in a photograph has the ability to absolutely mesmerize me.
Can you name one song that encapsulates the energy of your shots?
One song that I think encapsulates the energy of my shots, particularly my black and white photographs is “Wait” by M83. I listened to this song on repeat when I was younger as I was either outside shooting or looking at others’ photography. The calmness and stillness of the song is how photography makes me feel inside. Photography has always been my outlet. I believe that sometimes you can feel the emotion of the photographer through their work. I believe this song encapsulates some of my best work and how it makes me feel.
How do you overcome creative fears or doubts?
I overcome creative fears or doubts by just getting up and going out to take a walk and shoot. Sometimes I do feel myself losing creative energy. When I start to feel this way, I try to grab my camera or even just my phone to go on a walk and get at least one good photo to either just look at or post on my Instagram to add to my portfolio. Usually this will help spark my creativity again.
How would you like to evolve over the coming years?
Right now I am just a hobbyist photographer. I have sold a handful of pieces, unintentionally and have done a couple sessions for people, but have never really gone full force into monetizing anything. In the next year, I really want to focus on making this a business for myself. I want to spend more time in my art. I would love to get my name out more in the Erie community by attending festivals, shows, and get my work up in local galleries. A long-term goal of mine is to be a full-time photographer and I think Erie is an amazing place to launch that dream.
How would you like to see your artistic contributions impact Erie?
I would love to see my photography impact the Erie community. I grew up here, and I have a special place for Erie in my heart. I think it is so beautiful and the past couple years has been really evolving and growing. I want to showcase the beauty of Erie and the people in it. I also want to inspire others to dive into their creative outlets. I think everyone has an artist in them. If my photography can inspire just one person to follow their artistic dreams, that would be an achievement of mine. I want others to feel the same inspiration I feel when I see a beautiful photograph hanging in a local restaurant, the Erie art museum, or at the dentist’s office.
Any advice for upcoming photographers?
Some advice I would give to any upcoming photographers would be just to start. I started taking photos from an iPod touch and posting them on an Instagram page. You will never be able to express yourself and show people the beauty you don’t just do it. Photography has done a lot for me. It allows me to slow down, relax, and appreciate the little details in life. Even if you are not looking to become a big photographer, explore your creative outlet through photography. It will teach you a lot more things than just how to press a shutter button.
Any final thoughts?
I love photography. I love capturing the simple details of everyday life. There is so much beauty in every moment. I hope that I can have a positive impact on the Erie community and touch many people’s lives as I develop and evolve closer to my goals as a professional photographer. Please check me out on Instagram at nadyamakay.photography. If you are a photography enthusiast too, reach out to me! I always love meeting and talking to people who also appreciate the simple beauties of photography.