Tanya Traboulsi is a photographer born in Klagenfurt, Austria from a Lebanese father and an Austrian mother, she spent her childhood years in Beirut before she went to school in Austria, growing up between both countries and cultures. She also graduated in professional speaking in Vienna and plans to include it in her practice as an artist. Her series Lost Strange Things recalls the themes of nostalgia and belonging through landscapes, people, interiors and objects.
How did you get interested in photography?
I’ve always taken photos, I got my first camera at the age of 4 and from that moment on I always kind of documented my everyday life and the people that surrounded me. I have loads of photo albums at home, with captions, exact dates and names etc. Also, my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother always took photos and films of the family. So I guess the love for the image was passed on.
Introduce us to Lost Strange Things: On Not Finding Home
Lost Strange Things is a personal venture into the notion of home and into the question of if such notion, nowadays in our fast paced lives where everything moves and changes so fast, even exists anymore. I photographed familiar (or seemingly familiar) places in Austria as well as in Lebanon and tried to create a narrative that speaks for itself.
“I just stopped trying to define and analyze the notion of belonging and instead, appreciating the advantage of having two cultures and mentalities within me.”
I have worked on this series for about 2 years but I have to say that I haven’t found an answer to my question, I still feel torn between both places.
Can you tell us more about the title?
The title was initially used by the writer Rayya Badran for the prologue of the book that I made of the series. I liked it so much that we agreed to use it as the title for the series and the book. I just think it fits the mood I was trying to create through the images. Lost and strange, and things (I photographed objects that have a meaning to me, I own some of them, if not all, since my childhood).
You draw links between you two homes, Austria and Lebanon, and we can’t easily recognize where each photo was taken. Has this personal experience been a way for you to bring together your different affiliations and unify this dual culture in a way?
Unfortunately not really. I feel as torn between the two places and cultures as ever. I just stopped trying to define and analyze the notion of belonging and instead, appreciating the advantage of having two cultures and mentalities within me. The moment I stopped trying to put a name on it, or to explain and label it, I felt lighter and less confused.
Your project includes both your photographs, archive images and objects. It was exhibited at the Art Factum Gallery in Beirut, how did this format allow you to present it in comparison with your book?
Exhibiting this project is very interesting. I actually exhibit the real objects and some of the old photographs from the archive in a museum-like glass display, I project the scanned slides from my family archive onto a wall in a big size and the photography is framed and hung on the walls also in quite big dimensions (1x1m). I will again be showing this body of work in August 2018 in Vienna. I’m very excited about this because it will be my first solo show in my country of birth.
what do you hope to bring to people looking at your story?
I tend to photograph rather soothing scenes/landscapes, perhaps because I’m in constant search of quiet and peace, comfort, silence and beauty. The biggest compliment is when people tell me that my photographs make them feel at home and at peace.
More to see on her website.