Meet Nasrah Omar
By Carmenlucia Acosta
With a small sketchbook in-hand, fashion photographer Nasrah Omar explores the Big Apple for inspiration in unexpected places and things. The result? Incredible pieces that gracefully combine fashion and art altogether, each one telling a unique story.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I've spent most of my life in New York City, where I currently live, but I've been lucky enough to have lived in seven countries so far, including India, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Oman, UAE and the U.S., and various cities within those places. Having been exposed to an array of cultures so early on was incredibly formative for me and I hope that my work as a fashion photographer always reflects that diversity.
When did you start making art? Do you remember how you felt after completing your very first piece?
I started dabbling with photography when I was 13. I had a disposable camera that I used to photograph really ornate and whimsical sets I had built to showcase my doll collection. It was all very kitschy and gaudy and I think to a large degree I still retain that sensibility in my work.
What are five words that describe the essence of your art?
Whimsical, quirky, colorful, diverse and empowering.
Who, or what, is your main source of inspiration?
I always look for inspiration outside of fashion photography and from other fields, such as furniture design, product design, architecture and cinema. It's also fascinating to learn about other people's processes.
What are the main challenges you face during the process of creating your art?
Something I've always struggled with is trying to contain a never-ending barrage of ideas and inspirations that I pick up on constantly. It's so imperative to always have a small sketchbook handy at all times. The other most common challenges are staying organized enough to figure out all the logistics of the shoot in time and to make sure everyone one the team is roughly on the same wavelength, because ultimately it's a collaboration, and I think it’s good to always be open and receptive to new ideas.
Do you have a favorite piece? Why?
It definitely changes from time to time. Recently I revisited a shoot I did a year ago to edit the same selection in a better way and I'm happy with the results. It's a series called “Kitsch Simulacra” and I got to work with an incredible team for it. My friend Lorryn Moore, who’s a nail artist and sculptor (https://lorrynmoore.weebly.com), designed hyperreal looking desserts, like macarons, ice cream, lollipops, etc. from polymer clay and we embedded them in these bright, cosplay wigs that Birna Gus (@bbirna) wore. All the make up was done by Carlee Carvalko (http://www.carleecarvalko.com/carlee-makeup) You can see it here: https://www.nasrahomar.com/kitsch-simulacra
Do you have any advice for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the arts?
The biggest thing is to make real, genuine connections with people. Nothing compares to getting to work with lifelong friends who are also your creative collaborators. It's incredibly fun and gratifying. This sounds so cliche, but when you enjoy the process of creating and find joy in every step of it, it never gets tiring. The last piece of advice is to always look for inspiration in unexpected places and things, a lot of times that's how creative breakthroughs materialize across so many disciplines.
Edited by Sasha Jones