Meeting up with Lara Zankoul

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Welcome to Lara Zankoul’s world where dreams are floating like bubbles in an imaginary world. Lara is a young self-taught Lebanese photographer whose art transcends all languages and boundaries, as it portrays universal emotions and human feelings. Using dazzling settings, out-of-the box ideas, great lenses and a fine eye for beauty, Lara’s shots are simply out of this world.

Lara Zankoul

Lara graduated from college with a major in Economics. She got into the Photography field trying to escape the daily routine of work and daily life. She developed herself and became a well-renowned photographer in Lebanon. Recently, she has been represented by Ayyam Gallery, one of the top galleries in the Middle East.

I have asked Lara a few questions to know more about her and her latest updates;

I have read that you started photography as a means to escape the boring daily routine, but don’t you find it alluring sometimes to solely dedicate your time and efforts to photography and make it your full-time profession?

Surprisingly not! It is this boring daily routine that feeds my passion for photography. There is an equilibrium at the moment in my life, between my left and right brain (economics vs. photography) and it seems to be working pretty well. Whether this equilibrium will be broken at some point in time, I do not know; but for the time being I’d like to keep photography as an escape. On another note, my interest in photography is limited to fine arts and conceptual aspect and it would be pretty hard to make a living from it only. However, I consider it as a semi-profession and take freelance projects in line with my photographic style.

Your approach in photography is very unusual in the Middle East; tell me more about people’s reactions to your works when you started? 

Sharing my photos online helped me get a lot of feedback and I am happy to say that it was more positive than negative. My work brought many questions on how I proceed to get the finals results.

Do you think that there is potential for other photographers or artists, in general, who adopt conceptual themes in their works to succeed locally?

I believe there is a lot of potential to grow, as I believe this field is not saturated yet and there is so much room to be creative and stand out. Conceptual themes can be used in marketing, corporate imaging, book/music illustrations…, etc. If the art scene cooperates and supports conceptual images, artists will definitely have opportunities to succeed.

What inspires you? 

I find myself very inspired by the human psychic. I try to explore the depths of the mind and soul and explore emotions and state of minds through my lens. This is why I am very inspired by feelings, daily situations, human interactions, our relation with nature…, etc. Another big inspiration is Disney movies which I grew up watching.

Who are  the photographer you always look up to, whether in the Arab world or anywhere else? 

Hmmm, Tim Walker and Brooke Shaden mainly due to the detachment from reality in their pictures.

Now, that you are represented by Ayyam Gallery, which is a celebrated gallery in the Arab region, what is your next step/plan? 

Getting represented by Ayyam was a great milestone for me. I am thrilled to be working with such a reputable gallery. My next step is to have a solo exhibition at Ayyam by the end of 2012. I am currently working on it and working on developing my style, as well.


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Noha Rahhal

Noha is the Founder & Editor in Chief of Sans Retouches. Apart from her obsession with glossy stuff, Noha is a hardcore bookworm and a music addict. If you happen to spot her in any of Alexandria’s hot spots, you’d find her either pouring her thoughts on a chic notebook, picking a political argument with some fellas or even enjoying an exotic meal to keep her full for days.

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