Vincent Kabbara’s ‘Faerie Soirée’: A Springtime Ballad of Diversity and Inclusion

A story that began with a curious child clicking random shots with an analogue camera, Vincent Kabbara has walked a long path to become one of the most acclaimed fashion photographers of his generation.

Vincent Kabbara’s ‘Faerie Soirée’: A Springtime Ballad of Diversity and Inclusion
Menna Shanab

Lebanese photographer and creative director Vincent Kabbara (Instagram) has traveled a winding road on his artistic journey along which he has explored and presented a multifaceted prism of passion and inspiration, as he relentlessly pursues his expression of a unique world through the lens of a camera. Since the tender age of ten,

Kabbara’s journey into the realm of photography and art direction has been fuelled by a simple passion: telling stories through the medium of visual arts.

The confidence boost he received from his parents’ reactions to his pictures served as the catalyst that propelled him into photography. His parents’ unwavering faith in his talents led to his first VHS camera – a gift that inspired him to dive even deeper into the world of photography and images. Viewing the art form as a game, he played with different perspectives, light and shadow, always looking to capture moments in time that could evoke emotion and provoke thought. Each frame offered a new challenge; each image a personal victory. This playful approach would underpin Kabbara’s unique style and approach.

Armed with an analogue camera, a child’s insatiable curiosity, and a supportive family, Kabbara began a lifelong quest to translate the world around him into stunning images.

Kabbara’s early forays into the world of photography were followed by an academic pursuit of graphic design at art school. During his studies, he nurtured his growing love for photography through additional courses, eventually deciding to amalgamate his skills in both art direction and photography to create a holistic representation of his artistic vision. This blending of disciplines allowed him to perfectly fuse art direction with photography. The resultant synergy enabled him to fully express his vision and unique world.

As an artist, Kabbara’s style is a chaotic and delightful blend of contrasts. He describes it as messy, occasionally dark, and at other times, imbued with a vibrant array of colours. Tied intrinsically to his mood, his work can either radiate an air of vibrancy or delve into more somber tones. Yet, each piece retains a profound sense of conceptuality, conveying powerful messages in an abstract way. His work, be it dark, or full of bright hues, merges European photography’s subtle nuances with his Mediterranean roots, resulting in captivating pieces that traverse the border of realism and abstraction.

Regarding his creative process, Kabbara reveals that it all starts with mental images – flashes of inspiration derived from various elements of life and a sense of human freedom. These initial sparks are developed into a theme, which is then translated into photography. To bring his vision to life, Kabbara collaborates with a creative team – models, stylists, and a makeup artist, and each member contributes to the final result. Despite the initial concept undergoing numerous transformations, the final output remains a representation of the original idea, reshaped by many hands and minds.

Spring, a season of rebirth and renewal, sparked the initial inspiration for Kabbara’s latest editorial shoot, ‘Faerie Soirée’. Motivated by a desire to juxtapose his previous works that had started veering towards the dark and the underground, the arrival of spring, with its bright blues and sun-drenched days, provided a motivational backdrop for this artistic shift. This was inspired by Kabbara’s innate creativity that is reinvigorated by the spring season, the anticipation of the sun and clear blue skies. The second source of inspiration was the desire and significance of representing diversity and individuality in our self-perception and interactions with others, ideas which were heightened during his time living in Paris.

However, the concept was not just sparked by the changing seasons. A confrontation with the pervasive norms and prejudices in society, and how they breed insecurities, left a deep impression on Kabbara. This provided the perfect context to approach the shoot. The project thus adopted an atmosphere of enlightenment, acceptance, and nature.

“Faerie Soirée” masterfully balances dreaminess and melancholy, another theme born from Kabbara’s personal experience in Paris. The intense melancholy he felt in his early years there, coupled with the introspective analysis this phase encouraged, allowed him to dream and conceptualize the project. Leveraging the vivacious colours of spring, he aims to depict diversity through models from outside the established framework. By incorporating reflections and unconventional body types, the shoot sends a powerful message of inclusion to the fashion industry.

Despite being a well-explored subject in art and fashion, Kabbara believes the current approach to diversity still falls short. Aiming to push boundaries, he collaborates with brands like Estrermanas, known for their radical representation of diversity, to challenge the normative narrative. Drawing inspiration from unconventional musicians like Melanie Martinez, Sevdaliza, and Shygirl, Kabbara is dedicated to representing the breadth of humanity in its rawest form.

“Faerie Soirée” beautifully captures the interplay of these emotions, presenting a dreamscape bathed in spring’s vivid colours. The daytime setting, the intense light, and clear blue skies all add to the charm, while a mirror reflecting the models amplifies the message of unity and inclusion.

Kabbara has come a long way from his beginnings as a child hobbyist, evolving into a thought-provoking artist whose work is reshaping the industry’s perception of beauty. He continues to challenge norms and encourage diversity, embodying the change he wants to see in the world. His artistic journey is a vivid tapestry of emotional depth, conceptual originality, and a strong commitment to showcasing how we are very different.

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