Arts & Culture

Arts Of The Week: Lara Zankoul’s The Unseen

September 4, 2016

Introducing Lara Zankoul’s effort in pushing boundaries and questioning social norms with her surreal photograph series titled The Unseen (2013).

Lara Zankoul is a Lebanese conceptual photographer who is known for her surreal and fairy-like story lines and photographs. In The Unseen (2013) photo series, Lara Zankoul depicts the world beyond naked eyes by using water to capture different human emotions, as well as contrast the varied characteristics of her subjects.

The 2011 Shabab Ayyam Photography Award winner mentioned that her work is greatly influenced by Tim Walker and Annie Leibovitz. She also mentioned that observing notably surreal and renaissance paintings, psychology as well as people and society, greatly inspires her in the conceptualization process.

Lara Zankoul The Unseen 4Lara Zankoul The Unseen 9The Noone / Telling Lies

In The Unseen (2013) photo series, each photographs is split into two parts where the first half that is above the water portrays the world everybody perceives. The world under the water in the second half represents what exists but isn’t always perceived. The duality of her photographs invites viewers to question and analyse the reality and consequences of various socio-cultural practices, and determine which half portrays the element of truth.

For example, the photograph titled The Noone above represents people who exist with their voice unheard. Meanwhile the photo Telling Lies below it shows how lies couldn’t be hidden deep down and would eventually resurface with greater force.

Lara Zankoul The Unseen 7Lara Zankoul The Unseen 1The Zoo / Frenemies

It doesn’t sound like much, does it? These days everyone seems to be armed with socio-political and cultural purposes. But, producing these flawless surreal photographs wasn’t easy. Lara Zankoul who describes her compositions as contemporary fairytales that explore the charms and mysteries of human psyche, took 6 months for the preparation alone. See it for yourself in the video at the bottom.

The whimsical yet playful imagery were meticulously shot in a custom-built water tank, without any digital manipulation. Attempting to push the boundaries of our reality and the monotony of our everyday life reinventing new worlds and social practices with the duality of her photographs, Lara Zankoul’s concepts for The Unseen (2013) are excellent, thought provoking and deeply emotional.

I promise I won’t give out too much and ruin it for you so.. For the rest, what do you think they are trying to convey?

Lara Zankoul The Unseen 5Lara Zankoul The Unseen 8Feminine Side / Paranoia

Lara Zankoul The Unseen 2Lara Zankoul The Unseen 6Patience / Feminine Side

Lara Zankoul The Unseen 10Lara Zankoul The Unseen 11A Boat’s Imagination / Nouveaux Riches

Lara Zankoul The Unseen 3Lara Zankoul The Unseen 12Censorship / Life

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