Photo project

Awfully Unnatural: Plastik World in the Project of Eli Rezkallah

Lebanese photographer and artist Eli Rezkallah creates alternative reality where glossy women dream and feel in surreal surroundings.

Eli Rezkalla, 29

Born in Lebanon, lives in Beirut and New York. Started his career as a fashion show producer and moved to launch his own creative studio Beyond Production in 2007 in Beirut where he develops creative projects for his clients. Founder and visionary of Plastik Magazine, a publication that focuses on new creative talent from Lebanon and all around the world. Plastik received several international publishing association awards. Eli’s work has been exhibited in Beirut, Palm Beach, Paris, Singapore and Bangkok.

I was born and raised in the late 80’s in a secluded oasis in Lebanon. Outside, the country was suffering from a civil war, and for the longest time, I didn’t know that because my mom hid it well. However, there was always this fear in women’s eyes when their husbands would leave to work because it was dangerous out there. It was as if there was always this big elephant in the room that everyone tried to ignore, maybe for the children’s sake or because they were desperately trying to maintain a balance for their traumatized husbands, so they used to live their life as if nothing was happening: they’d dress up, party… but there was always this anxiety and melancholy in their eyes. Denial is something that I grew up around and this marked my childhood. It’s very much what I try to portray in my work.

To be honest, I’m not interested in reality. I’m not interested in realistic depictions of women today. TV and social media do that. Most of my work is a private, imaginary representation of a woman’s state of mind. It’s about that moment where, no matter where she is or how good she looks, she zones out and thinks of that one thing that would make her entire world collapse.

“High on Art” is a collaborative series between creative director Ryan Houssari and myself, it’s an homage and celebration to our favorite modern day artists like Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama and Barbara Kruger amongst others. It’s the Plastik take on art.

“Plastik Tears” is a photography and video project featuring seven different women in seven dramatic scenarios where a woman cries, could be from a separation, heartbreak or even in her kitchen cutting onions. In this project I wanted to experiment with emotions in photography hence why I chose to feature seven talented Lebanese actresses as opposed to using models.

The inspiration is different in each series at the time it was produced. A lot of things can inspire me now, my mother, her friends, vintage telenovelas, drama.

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