Marikel Lahana Paris, France

Free from a photography capturing the now, her pictures are a staging of what is felt. She tries to capture in each person his difficulty of being. The body itself captures our attention and structures the visible, offering to look at what Marguerite Duras referred to as “the indelible perfection of the personal accident”.

Her photography is grainy, trembling and hesitant : it’s her presence in the image, not an imperfection to be fixed. French photographer and art critic Dorothée Smith wrote about her work :
Using her camera as a two-way mirror, “desaturating her portraits to the bone”, Marikel observes the manner in which her models regard themselves as the semigods of their identity as photographic subjects.

In 2008, Marikel received the “Bourse du Talent” prize for her portraiture works. The same year she was exhibited in Arles and in the public Library BNF in Paris. In 2009, she won the MJA (Mission for young artist). Since then Marikel has had solo and group exhibitions throughout Europe (Berlin, Reykjavik, Modena, Milan, Amsterdam, Lisbonne… ), Asia (Dali, Pingyao, Pekin… ) and also Canada (Toronto).

Marikel’s student career includes a post-graduate degree in digital images and special effects from the ENSAD, decoratives art school of Paris, a degree from the French National School of Photography of Arles -ENSP-, a graduate in photography from the Aalto University in Helsinki and a post-graduate from the National Studio of Contemporary Arts : Le Fresnoy.
Marikel is published in the press (Les Inrockuptibles, Le Monde, Libé next, Télérama… ), works with the musical industry (ZZT, Label Dalbin, Naïve, Two Gentlemen, æon I outhere music… ) and teaches at Sciences Po.


Marikel Lahana


Marikel Lahana was chosen by photographer Kristina Sereikaite



Laatikkomo’s interview with Marikel Lahana October 29th, 2015.

L:  Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?

ML:  I currently live in Paris, but I used to live in Helsinki in 2007 where I deeply fell in love with the quality of light.


L:  What is your first memory of photography?

ML:  The light, without a camera.


L:  Texture and attention to surfaces are obvious, strong aspects of your work. You also seem to enjoy playing with the exposure time and layering. In your opinion, what makes a successful image?

ML:  A strong presence.


L:  Some of the postures/poses of your subjects allude to an influence from fashion photography. As fashion has commonly set the standards of beauty, can you describe what beauty means to you?

ML:  I prefer the beauty of imperfection. In my last serie “genuflexion”, the subject is not the beauty but the violence of being reduce to just a beautiful girl.


L:  I noticed that your series Genital Panic, 2013 was co-produced with La Samaritaine (Moët Hennessy & Louis Vuitton). What was the nature of your collaboration with this reputed department store selling luxury goods?

ML:  It was a “Carte blanche”, an invitation by the curator Christian Caujolle to make a series in this abandoned building, before the new construction. I decided not to make pictures of the building but to make a portrait of someone between two identities, half life … just to make a resonance with the building.


L:  How do you find your subjects, and what is your relationship to your subjects? – Is that relationship important to how you photograph your subjects?

ML:  I need time to know the subject, to let them enter in world and to be trusted by them. I never took a camera before to have this quality of relationship.


L:  Your images seem to tell about a glimpse into a dark story. Are the narratives and stories behind your series of images purely fictitious/literary or does your work also hold a message about current societal norms?

ML:  I hate the world norm. What I’m interested in is the fragility that we all have. The beauty of this fragility, what M. Duras called “the indelebile perfection of the personal accident”.


L:  Could you list 5 (or more) words that you were thinking about when you made this work (shown in Laatikkomo)?

ML:  Face me – strong presence – natural – taken in the dark – flash – an instant  – the perfect instant …


Thank you so much Marikel!