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Christina Fakhry 19 Nov 2015

Photographer Youssef Nassar: Somewhere Between Melancholia and Nostalgia

From striking portraits to picturesque landscapes, Lebanese-Canadian photographer and filmmaker Youssef Nassar breathes a unique blend of artistry and emotion into every photograph.

Beirut.com reached out to Nassar for an insider peek at his unconventional style, aesthetic evolution and upcoming projects.

Beirut.com: How did your photography work evolve over the years?

Nassar: You know when you’re staring at some of your older works and you’re like, “Okay this is amazing, I reached what I always wanted in a photograph” and few months later on you check that same picture again, and you’re like all over again “Okay, that was a good picture but look at the highlights in the background, and this grading, I could do way better now”, etc.. And you keep on repeating the same routine and it becomes somehow a ritual but that’s what makes you better, to notice your own mistakes and simply learn from them and try to avoid them in the future. Maturity also plays a big role in this field. So with time, I got better with the technical stuff, the lighting part, the editing/grading, framing, compositions and of course dealing with my characters.

Beirut.com: What initially inspired you to venture into photography?

Nassar: It’s been more than 5 years now, Well I was studying filmmaking back then and I graduated as a filmmaker but I was also interested in cinematography and I think to be a decent cinematographer, the least you should be is a photographer as well. At least to practice it. So I bought my first camera which was the Canon 450D with the horrible lens 18-55mm that comes with it and I started taking pictures of everything just to get used to it and to explore what I’m actually into.

Beirut.com: What sets your photographic approach apart from others?

Nassar: Probably the grading, the framing and the way I setup my characters in a certain mood which mostly is somewhere between Melancholia and Nostalgia.

Beirut.com: What motivates you to keep going with your work after all this time?

Nassar: I work in this field, the least I could do is continue with it. It’s more of a fun thing than a full time job thing. And the beautiful thing about it, every now and then, I check older photographs or videos that I shot earlier and I notice the evolution in my work and that’s probably one of the biggest reason why I would never stop. It’s simply a passion with a lot of patience.

Beirut.com: Tell us about your upcoming projects.

Nassar: Nassar: Well, last year I had the chance to direct and shoot two music videos for my idol, Steven Wilson for his recent album ‘Hand. Cannot. Erase.’ (Best known for being the lead front man for band Porcupine Tree) and that actually is giving me a better chance reaching out to other international artists as well. I mean, I’m definitely more into film-making than photography but that doesn’t mean I won’t do both but as for my future, I’m focusing on the film side and to extend my skills and push the boundaries.

And at this moment, I have this new script that I’m working on and it’s almost done and planning to film it sometime this summer, it’s called ‘Good Mourning’.

Thank you.

To learn more about Nassar’s work, go to his Facebook page or visit his website.