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In cooperation with our partners for memory solutions

Lara Zankoul

Soul As Cold As Ice

“There is no pain, just coldness which leads to a lack of sensation. It feels like I stuck my thumb in a freezer” - Chris Young

Coldness is a recurrent theme in my work. I find this absence of warmth appealing in many ways. The whiteness of the snow and its purity, the bluish tones, the translucency of ice are all elements of an ethereal otherworldly world. As painful as coldness can be, as beautiful as it can look.

I've always wanted to create a scene with ice. The challenge was to create fake icicles. My initial intention was to cover a whole scene with snow and ice but as a first attempt I went for a more restricted portrait and focused on the character instead. Elie Khater collaborated with me on this shoot. Aside from modeling, being an SFX specialist, he managed to create a fake iced crown made of stalactites as well as an additional structure also made of fake stalactites. The result was perfect for the photo.

He also painted his face and upper body in white. Working on every small detail can always make or break a picture so we worked as a team to make sure that we did not miss any detail. For example, we added some snow on his eyelashes and eyebrows and added some bluish tones on his finger and lips. Looking at him made me feel cold already.


The set consisted of a plexiglass sheet placed in front of the model. We sprayed it with fake snow to re-inforce the Narnia mood. A textured grey muslin background was placed behind the model. I went for grey and white tones which I knew I was going to color into blue in color correction. Envisioning the editing style ahead of the shoot is always helpful in terms of art direction choices. Grey could easily be tuned into blue.

Regarding the light, the challenge was to avoid any reflections on the plexi sheet, so I made sure not to place the strobe in a perpendicular way to the plexi. For this shoot, I used the Siros 800 L, with which I cannot live without anymore. As a light shaper, I wanted a diffused soft direction light, so I went for the 90x120 Softbox. I did not need a fill light since the walls in my studio are white. I placed the strobe on a 45 degree angle from the model, this way I managed to create some contrast and avoid the reflections on the plexi.