Zankoul was born photographically in 2008. Driven by passion, she taught herself photography and started an enriching journey in the artistic field. During 2009, she completed her 365 project, a personal mission in which she committed on taking a picture every day in a row for a year. She has participated in several local and international collective exhibitions such as the ‘Women’s Art Exhibition’ in Art Lounge Lebanon in 2011 and the 3rd edition of the Festival Photomed in the South of France in 2013. Part of the Shabab Ayyam incubator programme, she was an award recipient at the 2011 Shabab Ayyam Photography Competition. In her solo show in Ayyam Gallery in January 2013, she presented for the first time, her cinematographic work, which was auctioned in April 2013 at Christie’s Dubai.
Name: Lara Zankoul
Birthday: September 10, 1987
College: NDU and AUB
Book: “Storyteller” by Tim Walker
Movie: Amelie Paulin
Quote: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” -Oscar Wilde
For how long have been in photography? How did you start?
I’ve been fully engaged in photography for about six years now. It started when I finally took initiative and bought myself my first DSLR camera, and began to learn and train by myself.
How would you define yourself as an artist? I would use the words “intuitive”, “moody”, “value freedom”, “perfectionist”.
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from things as simple to my surroundings to as complex as human behavior. I think inspiration can be found anywhere around you, if one merely opens his or her eyes and pays attention.
Is Brainstorming not the only creative method use to create new concepts?
I do use brainstorming however the main creative method I use is experimentation and trial/error. I put myself out there and challenge myself to make use of what’s around me. For example, I’ll pick a few props, go to a location, and see what I can create. Even if I don’t come up with something concrete during this time, I definitely leave with new ideas.
Please could you tell us about photography and digital technology?
They are interrelated. As a photographer, I feel like I have to keep up to date with new technologies because they can serve art and artist well. However, I do appreciate and enjoy non-digital technologies, such as film; however digital technology does open many doors at the end of the day.
What type of camera do you use most?
I mostly use the Canon 5d mark iii.
What is your favorite lens?
24-70mm 2.8, because of the low aperture setting, and minimal lens distortion.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
I would say it is “The Unseen” series. It was a personal project that I undertook out of passion. It was an experiment where I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, but the most memorable
part for me was that it didn’t matter whether I failed or succeeded, what mattered to me was the photography aspect and truly testing my limits.
What are your favourite three images you have shot recently?
“Living in a Goldfish Bowl” (January 2016), “Aquatic Dream” (September 2015), “The Recreation of the Self-made Man” (November 2015).
How important is an awesome website for your business?
I think websites are important for business because they extend to a wider audience. Social media accounts are important for exposure, but websites are a more formal reference to the creations of the artist.
What’s the most important quality a photographer needs to have?
There are many important qualities, but if I had to pick, it would be good communications skills and attention to detail.
Which of your projects has given you the most satisfaction?
It is also “The Unseen”, because I ended up with expressive photos that garnered praise, and I proved to myself that going above and beyond my own expectations could yield wonderful results.
Who are the photographer’s you admire the most?
Tim Walker, a British photographer, for the magical realism—I love his big surreal sets, which are actually produced and not digitally manipulated. The second is Annie Leibovitz, for her use of light, and the raw element in her work.
What are your next projects?
I have many projects in mind, however I ‘m waiting until I have the proper means to execute them.
Group exhibition, «Beirut Photo Fair», ARTHEUM, Beirut, Lebanon, October 2015
Group exhibition, «Beirut Art Fair», Heritage of Emotions, “Work in Progress” and Nikki Diana Marquardt, Beirut, Lebanon, September 2015
Auction, Young Collector’s Auction, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, 10 February 2015
Group exhibition, «The Road To Elysium», HEIST Gallery, London, November 2014
Solo Exhibition, «The Unseen», Ayyam Gallery, Beirut, February 2014
Group exhibition, «Festival Photomed Edition 3», Beirut, Janurary 2014
Auction, Young Collector’s Auction #18, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai January 2014
Group exhibition,«Festival Photomed Edition 3», Sanary-Sur-Mer 2013
Auction, «Modern and Contemporary Arab, Iranian and Turkish Art Part II» , Christie’s, April 2013
Solo Exhibition «Depths», Ayyam Gallery, Beirut, 2013
Auction, Young Collector’s Auction #14, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai 2012
Auction, Young Collector’s Auction #13, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai 2012
Auction, Young Collector’s Auction #12, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai 2012 (made the cover’s catalogue)
Group exhibition and competition «Shabab Ayyam Photography», Dubai 2011 (Award recipient)
Group exhibition «Woman in Contemporary Art», Art Lounge, Beirut 2011
Group Exhibition «Through Our Lenses», Solar Hotel , Paris 2011
Solo Exhibition «Synopsis», VAPA Association, Beirut 2011
21-22 April 2016 – Athens, Greece – Conceptual Photography Workshop – OPEN
16-17 August 2015 – Hamburg, Germany – Surreal Photography Workshop – Studio Barmbek – OPEN
7-8 November 2015 – San Sebastian, Spain – Surreal Photography Workshop – CLOSED
26-27 September 2015 – Beirut, Lebanon – Underwater Photography Workshop – OPEN
1-2 August 2015 – Hamburg, Germany – Surreal Photography Workshop – Studio Barmbek – CLOSED
April 2015 – Cairo, Egypt – Conceptual Photography Workshop – Egypt Photo Summit 2014 – CLOSED
March 2015 – Beirut, Lebanon – Conceptual Photography Workshop – TheAgendaBeirut – CLOSED
7-8 February 2015 – Sevilla, Spain – Conceptual Photography Workshop – Galeria Roja – CLOSED