Since its conception in 2020, Vogue Singapore has made it its mission to be a vessel of inspiration, creating impactful visuals and intelligent narratives that empower readers to dream and innovate. Cue the second iteration of the Vogue Singapore Talent Prize. An integral part of the Vogue Singapore Foundation—which aims to nurture regional talent and break down barriers to creative education—this year’s run sees a fresh group of shortlisted applicants take on the task of creating a campaign for Vogue Singapore based on our July/August issue’s theme of ‘Reverie’.
The five applicants—Danial Mirza, Yanni Chia, Jamela Law, Zhou SiTong and Celestine Chia—created thought-provoking campaigns that utilised key products from luxury e-commerce giant Farfetch, all while illustrating their talents through works laced with fantasy and promise. Photographer Mirza, who goes by the moniker Papparilé, emerged as the winner and received a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of Farfetch, along with a Vogue Singapore internship and complimentary one-year U30 membership at Mandala Club.
The 26-year-old visual artist uses photography as his main medium, frequently exploring themes of transformation and imagination. Shares Mirza of his storytelling process: “I enjoy the drama and theatrics of a fairy tale; real life tends to be mundane. Detaching from what is real allows me the freedom to be more creative and ambitious in my work.” Titled ‘The Land of Otherworldly Pleasures’, his campaign focuses on the idea of indulging in one’s daydreams. The backgrounds and garments in each image are synonymous with characters from children’s fables, with a sense of tranquillity and utopia present throughout.
Here, Mirza chats about the inspirations behind his winning campaign images, the Vogue Talent Prize and what he hopes to see from the emerging fashion scene in the months to come.
Hi Danial, congratulations on winning the Vogue Talent Prize.Why was still-image photography your preferred medium for the competition?
I find many similarities between photography and painting. I see my photography as an ‘instant painting’ of sorts. I form the image before me first and then capture it with my camera after. I get to manipulate the different elements in the picture, controlling what I want the viewers to see and feel.
Why was the Vogue Talent Prize a natural next step for you?
Since it’s my final year in university, I was curious to see if I was able to put everything I had learnt to the test. The Vogue Talent Prize provided an opportunity for me to take the leap, to have more confidence in myself and step out of my comfort zone. It was not part of my original plan this year but I’m so thankful and honoured to be a part of it.
What was the inspiration behind the campaign?
There was something I found interesting about the Garden of Eden. It is a place of paradise but it is also a story of desire, seduction and temptation. In my adapted version, however, there was never a snake with malicious intentions, but instead a character who dares to dream and to become whoever she wants to be.
“I enjoy the drama and theatrics of a fairy tale; real life tends to be mundane. Detaching from what is real allows me the freedom to be more creative and ambitious in my work.”
Could you take us through your creative process for this project?
After I landed on the right topic through rounds of ideation,I promptly assembled a creative team that could meet the deadlines. Having had prior experience with set design, I knew that I wanted to photograph everything in a studio because I felt it would provide me with better control. Building the set required experimenting with concrete and water as I wanted to emphasise different materials and mediums.
How do you think the composition and styling effectively brings your message to life?
I treat my work as an art history project and that includes analysing every intricate detail on set. Applying symbolism or mise en scène allows me to add more depth to my work and it also allows me to indirectly get messages across. It is fun for me as well, to create a journey for people to embark on when they first see my work.
What do you hope to see more of from emerging young creatives?
There are still many undiscovered talents with refreshing ideas. Being in a small country can lead to seeing a lot of similar creations and I hope to see more locals hone in on their individuality and produce bold work.
Lastly, what’s next for you?
I am finishing my senior year as a photography major at Nanyang Technological University and will be presenting a new body of work as my final year project early next year.
Credits for ‘The Land of Otherworldly Pleasures’
Photographer, creative director and set designer Danial Mirza
Styling Justin Neo
Set designer Mayle Kor
Photographer’s assistants Ng Teng Han and Chuen Kah Jun
Hair and make-up Janine Toh
Outfit Acne dress from Farfetch
Models Jaime Ng, Isaac Chan and Sharon Lynn Thesali