INTERVIEW WITH…

Lara Zankoul

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NOTINDOOR

This month our Photographer of the Month is an amazing creative photographer Lara Zankoul. If you are not familiar with her works you should definitely be.

 

NID: Please tell us a little about yourself.
LZ: I’m a 27 year old who loves chocolate, is not a morning person, and is always dreaming. I used to love pretending to be a runway model in my living room when I was six years old, with my biggest fan being my mom! Eventually I traded that lucrative career for one in fine arts, many years onwards.

NID: When did your photography journey begin?
LZ: It began when I was 21 years old and took initiative to buy myself my first DSLR camera.

NID: When did you start taking photography more seriously?
LZ: When I started building my social media platform and receiving feedback on the work I posted, things started to get more serious than just a hobby.

NID: Why do you really take photos?
LZ: I take photos simply because it’s my passion. I rely on visuals rather than words to communicate and to tell stories.

NID: Do you take photos more for yourself—or for others?
LZ: Sometimes its easy to fall into the trap of photographing what people expect of you, but I always make my way back  and photograph for myself primarily, following my own in- stincts and photographic desires.

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Photo by Lara Zankoul

NID: What kind of gear do you use?
LZ: I use the Canon 5D Mark II. My lenses are: 50mm f/1.2, 50mm f/1.4, 24-70mm f/2.8 and 2 elinchrome 500w strobes.

NID: When you go in one of your travels, what all you take with you? Why?
LZ: When its just for me, and not for work, I don’t take any camera or equipment. I like traveling light, with only the basics.

NID: Which is your favorite lens? Why?
LZ: The 24-70 mm lens—it has an aperture of 2.8, so I get a nice bokeh effect, and it is a zoom lens so I can play around with different angles.

NID: Among the gadgets that you own, is there something that you wish you hadn’t bought? Why?
LZ: No regrets thus far.

NID: Whose work has influenced you most?
LZ: Tim Walker, a British photographer who really motivated me with the sheer creativity behind his images. The second
is Annie Leibovitz, who always came up with ideas and raw  imagery in her photos that I admire.

NID: Who are some of your favorite classic photographers, and how did they influence you?
LZ: I really love David Hamilton for the mood of his photos and the dreaminess behind them.

NID: How does black and white vs color play into your work? Do you find them to be totally separate beasts—or comple- mentary?
LZ: Personally, I love color, because it’s my language and helps convey my messages. I have nothing against Black and White photography but it doesn’t tend to fall into my style. What I can say about it, though, is that it does an amazing job high- lighting the shadows of a photo. Perhaps I’ll try it sometime in the future.

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Photo by Lara Zankoul

NID: What do you think are some clichés in photography you steer away from yourself?
LZ: I try my best not to be part of clichés, particularly themat- ic ones. I tend to go for subjects that are not as easily accessi- ble, and go out of my way to make sure things are outside the box.

NID: In the field, what are your most used camera settings?
LZ: I would say it is Aperture Mode and Manual Mode, when I’m using strobes.

NID: What kind of tools do you use for post processing? Ex- plain your work-flow.
LZ: Usually, I like to limit post-processing to color correction only. My approach is to create my sets during the photo shoot because I personally find it more self fulfilling. However, at times, I do resort to some photo-manipulation when execut- ing the idea is rather impossible. In these instances I’d prefer to create an image in post rather than not create it at all due to the lack of practicality.

NID: Do you prefer Photoshop or Lightroom? Or maybe some other software?
LZ: I use mainly Photoshop.

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Photo by Lara Zankoul

NID: How has social media played a role in your photogra- phy?
LZ: In a big way, social media is what exposed my work to my audience around the world, and that is how my audience grew and I was able to be reached out to be my all kinds of people. Its helped me with opportunities more than I could’ve imag- ined.

NID: When you are out shooting—how much of it is instinc- tual versus planned?
LZ: I think it’s always important to have a little bit of both. I definitely plan out shoots, but when we’re on set and I want to change something, or someone in my crew suggests a good idea, I’m more than willing to switch specific parts of the shoot on the spot.

NID: What are your thoughts on working on single images versus projects?
LZ: I used to do single images that would end up being relat- ed and grouped into a series, but not I like projects where I have an overriding theme and carry out multiple photos for it at once.

NID: Among your works, which one is your favorite? Why?
LZ: The Zoo from the series The Unseen, because I didn’t think it would get the acclaim it did. It was a fun extra in the series, and it surprised and delighted me how much praise it received.

NID: What projects/ideas you have going on now?
LZ: I have many! I recently returned from a residency in Italy, and am currently editing the photos that will hopefully be posted shortly. I’ve had a lot of inspiration lately and can’t wait to apply it.

NID: How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
LZ: Research and trial and error.

NID: What are your thoughts and feelings about shooting individually (versus shooting with a friend or small group of friends)?
LZ: Each experience is different. It is definitely important to shoot individually at times, because you get to push your- self and get to know where you stand on your own two feet, where you’ve improved, where work still needs to be done, etc. There is also the thrill of having a good photo turn out and know that it was 100% your own effort. However, there’s a wonderful feeling of working with others, and hearing their rich feedback and suggestions. I’ve created wonderful works of art with the help of fellow artists and friends.

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Photo by Lara Zankoul

NID: What are some other tips/advice you would give to yourself if you started photography all over again?
LZ: I think I would’ve advised myself to take on some early courses in lighting.

NID: What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
LZ: I want each viewer to take away whatever he/she wants from my work. My work is meant to tell a story, and each indi- vidual can relate differently to what it says.

NID: What is one question nobody has ever asked you—that you wish they did?
LZ: I’d love it if Johnny Depp asked me to marry him—just kidding!

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This month our Photographer of the Month is an amazing creative photographer Lara Zankoul. If you are not familiar with her works you should definitely be.

NID: Please tell us a little about yourself.
LZ: I’m a 27 year old who loves chocolate, is not a morning person, and is always dreaming. I used to love pretending to be a runway model in my living room when I was six years old, with my biggest fan being my mom! Eventually I traded that lucrative career for one in fine arts, many years onwards.

NID: When did your photography journey begin?
LZ: It began when I was 21 years old and took initiative to buy myself my first DSLR camera.

NID: When did you start taking photography more seriously?
LZ: When I started building my social media platform and receiving feedback on the work I posted, things started to get more serious than just a hobby…

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