Born in the Mythic city of Byblos, Lebanon, Visual Artist Elias Abkar grew up holding on to his dream of pursuing Art & Audiovisual Studies. After successfully graduating from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik in 2015 (USEK), he quickly became more than just another dynamic Fashion and Lifestyle Photographer, but also a much sought-after Professional Visual Artist gifted with somewhat of a special touch, quite unusual for his age.
All Photos Copyright Elias Abkar
As a child, Elias was always interested in Arts, Cinema and Music. At the early age of 10 his parents noted his particular interest and registered him to attend painting workshops “I never felt like I had the hands of a painter but many people around me said I had an eye for things. I enjoyed looking at Artworks as much as big billboards, glossy magazines and even TV commercials, which always left me curious about not only how they do it, but their purpose and their effect on me as a viewer”, explains Elias Abkar to Kamsyn.
By the age of 11, his parents got him a video recorder, which he used to film moments he found valuable. At the age of 13, Elias managed to buy a small photo camera and started taking pictures of his friends and the world around them. This is how Elias cultivated his natural taste for discretion in addition to his genuine approach.
Today, Elias just came back from the Paris Fashion Week 2018 where he mingled with the World’s top Designers & Celebrities as he finished working on MBC TV’s Project Runway presented by World-famous Lebanese Designer Elie Saab “I always found ‘freezing a moment’ to be of great value, because I knew that this exact Time-Capsule could never occur again. Photography is more than a language, it’s also a visual code to be shared with the discerning who understand its boundaries yet feel the powerful emotions it conveys each time they visit it. I believe Photography transcends some of the habitual visual limitations of other means of communication”
What were the most important steps in learning photography? On what does the photographer have to concentrate to make photos stand out ?
The most important part in becoming a photographer is curiosity of course & practice. Practice gives the photographer a broader and more solid idea on what he likes, what type of photography he might be interested in. Training one’s eye is essential, each photographer has his own perspective. In terms of technicalities, I find it necessary to be familiar and comfortable with one’s own equipment. Starting with just a camera (with manual settings preferably) and experimenting with natural light, getting a better hold of it, then moving on to adding complementary equipment, such as artificial lighting.
What are the shooting themes you concentrate on in your current projects?
Fashion and lifestyle photography inspire me the most. I also enjoy taking photos of some of my surroundings, the microcosm of small objects often grab my attention… I am preparing with my team now for 3 upcoming shoots with prestigious Fashion brands and a few others with Public figures. I also have an exciting personal project on paper unfolding soon.
What brings soul into your work ?
My main sources of inspiration are watching movies and TV series, looking at other photographers’ work, traveling, visiting art galleries, reading books and even listening to music. Sometimes new people I meet, like muses can be a great source of inspiration!
Are your photos carefully thought out? Or do you proceed instinctively through the « inspiration of the moment » ?
It depends of the project at hand, whether to carefully plan the shoot or just act intuitively. Personally, I prefer to elaborate on spot while shooting, because the people in front of the camera, time, wardrobe, props and locations can be a great source of improvisation ! Yet planning remains essential.
Does it take you too much time to go from the idea of to the actual creation?
Usually, when working with clients, elaborating an idea can be less complicated since we both pitch-in ideas and build upon them progressively. When it comes to personal projects, it can be a slower process because it takes more time to plan things alone and reflect about the meaning and implications of an idea.
Where would you say Beauty stands in the art of photography? How would you define it?
As the saying goes “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. What may seem admirable to one person, might not appeal to another. How beauty is interpreted can differ between one individual and another, and one’s own perception is highly exposed to change over time. Understanding such spectrum is also one of the skills of a talented Visual Artist.
One last word to wrap this up ?