Through The Lens of Nadine Ashkar

By Helena Saadeh
11 Dec,2018

Nadine Ashkar is a Lebanese photographer who has been working in the image industry for more than twenty-five years. With her photography diploma in hand, she embarked on a journey in the world of the instant films, offering creative and innovative services in advertising, fashion, architecture, design, and portraits. Passionate about photography, she shares her passion with young students through the classes she teaches in two renowned schools.

Winner of the "Oscar of Photography" prize where she won the first prize for the category "Portraits" and "Best Shot", she participated in the exhibition "Mois de la Photo" at the French Cultural Center in Lebanon.

In her recent exhibition entitled: “Le Vélo", Nadine Ashkar goes into two-wheel mode and celebrates the Parisians' favorite means of locomotion. The bicycle becomes, through her photography, a symbol, an allegory of freedom, balance, joy, but above all an evolution that can lead in many cases to a revolution of the self.

The exhibition is held in Paris and will remain there until the end of January at "Brasserie Nai", Place des étoiles -8 Avenue de la Grande Armée - Paris.

The bikes in the photos were taken in different European cities such as Bruges, Brussels, Paris and in Lebanon.

Describe that moment/experience/feeling when you knew that photography was a profession you’re willing to do for the rest of your life.

Fate put me on the road to photography. I was 17 years old, and I did not have many options to choose from given my age, since some universities did not accept students under 18, and since I did not like the daily routine professions, nor those of zero creativity, in addition to the fact that I found pleasure during my childhood in taking photos with my little camera, I let myself go in this adventure of which I knew barely nothing about. As time passed by, I discovered that I belonged to this artistic world and I became certain that photography will be my profession and my passion for the rest of my life.

It was with each project and each successful photo that I felt more and more attached to this field. The years passed with total satisfaction and an absolute joy. The work experiences and responsibilities I had to bear as young woman, and the first prizes that I proudly won made me dream to go further.

If you would take your art in any direction without fear or rejection or failure, where would it be?

It would definitely be freedom: The freedom to travel around the world, to take pictures without fear, the freedom to choose any subject that inspires me without fear of rejection, the freedom to express myself and to expose it without fear of failure.

What do people look at the most in your photography?

In my opinion it is the genuineness and elegance that people like and appreciate in my photos.

Just like any other art, photography reflects the character and personality of its subject, and as I am simple, genuine and uncomplicated, I then project myself into my photos eliminating all that is artificial and superficial, especially in fashion photos and portraits, the person becomes sensual, charming, natural, and beautiful.

What are your challenges and what are your best moments?

One of the biggest challenges is myself. I always try to do better with each project, I always try to improve my techniques and my final rendering.

And the moment I hung up my photos for my first solo show in Paris is one of the most memorable moments I've ever had until now.

If you had to choose your favorite photographer, which one will it be?

I was impressed by several contemporary photographers.

Man Ray is a photographer that I admire most and if I had to choose the time that I would like to belong in I will choose that of Man Ray, Dali and all the surrealists.

What is your advice for aspiring photographers?

Be free, be real, be yourself and love what you do.