What started out as a childhood hobby turned into a lifelong dream come true. Brazilian-based photographer Nádia Maria, born in 1984, started taking pictures of her dolls as a child at around 7 or 8 years old, and her camera indeed became her favorite toy.

Once she turned 18, she took up photography in Senac, Brazil, improving her skills as a photographer. Showcasing images based on experience, Nádia’s creations became an image journal that portrays a dream-like state, showing both light and dark. Her experimental yet emotional images have been displayed in various publications including Vogue and National Geographic.

Using and combining different photographic techniques, the Bauru, São Paulo-based artist converts images from her head before sleeping into real life photographs – turning feelings and thoughts into tangible creations. “As I’ve never been very good at writing, photography is the diary of my thoughts and feelings,” she says.

Her oneiric, and often dark images, come from something personal – a lot of things she has gone through in life have influenced her work, including a bout with postpartum depression. People would describe the photos as dreamlike and surreal.

“I try to express what I can’t with words, what is invisible, what feeds the photography: the light, the soul, the feeling, the time, the void, the unknown. Some people use photography to tell stories, others invent stories through it, I write poems. What I try to shot is always the poetry,” she explains.

Her visual poetry has taken the world by storm, with numerous publications and exhibitions in countries like the US, Spain, France, Italy, Australia, Russia, Germany, Netherlands, England, and China.

Because her photos come from a deeply personal root, it’s difficult to grasp the thought of being inspired by darkness. What keeps Nádia inspired is her being self-aware and reflective.

“I think the fact that I am a person who observes too much,” she once said in an interview. “I’m very reflective, I’m always too attentive to everything that happens inside and outside of me, and reflected in every angle of every event. I think that this process brings me a lot of inspiration over time.”

As far as motivation and a sense of achievement is concerned, she says she just lets things flow. “It actually leads me to achieve different things. I only put out what I feel,” she explains. She furthers that it’s akin to therapy. “Professionally I hope to arouse reflection and sensitivity for those who see beyond what is there.”

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Find out more about the artist through the following:

Website: nadiamaria.com
Facebook: /nadiamariaphoto
Instagram: @nadiamariaphoto
Flickr: transparessencia
Tumblr: transparessencia
Twitter: @nadiamphoto

All images are owned by the artist. Thanks for reading!

h/t: Juxtapoz, Fubiz, We and the Color, Feather of Me, The PhotoPhore, Fashion Industry Broadcast