The name, "Ninu Nina" stems from the alien language spoken by Robin Williams in "Mork & Mindy" ( a popular 1970's comedy show).





I recently met Laurent Achkar at Bedouin Tech an event he describes as “ a bonding experience with very interesting, creative, genuine and like -minded individuals”, organized by Disorient Camp in the sand dunes outside of Dubai.

Laurent, who was born in Marseille to Lebanese parents, is a landscape architect and photographer. He studied at AUB and later did his masters in Landscape Architecture at Sheffield in the UK. He currently works for British firm Cracknell in the Dubai Design District and recently shot some of my favorite photos from Fashion Forward. His passion for photography began in 2015 when he quit his job in Lebanon and moved to Paris having borrowed his father's camera. He wandered the streets finding beauty in places we typically do not notice. He began noticing the smallest details, shadows, cracks in the walls, and beautiful imperfections, which is what I noticed in his work and why I asked him for this interview.

Laurent your greatest inspirations or influences?

  • First my father of course who lent me my first camera. Every time we went somewhere he carried it with him.
  • A documentary I watched in 2006: Planet Earth has been influential because it created an interest in the beauty of Earth’s fauna and flora.
  • The female form and generally I am inspired by my everyday life. This can mean anything from  a news article to a picture, even a piece of writing, literally anything.

Other talent on social media you enjoy following?

This could take years to answer because there are so many great handles and creatives. Just to name a few:

  • Landscape and People’s photography: @maxrivephotography, @okyarisandi
  • Portrait photography: @Kat_in_nyc @brandonwoelfel, @Bleeblu, @gregoriophotography
  • General accounts: @globe_people @bravogreatphoto @earth_portraits

Does Dubai inspire you?  

Dubai gives one the possibility to pursue one’s passion. Sometimes I find that as a city  it lacks identity but the fact that people come and go also has a charm.

Laurent, tell us a bit about the photos our audience will find below in your “ Dubai” body of work.

Well, I would like to start by saying that these photos were completely spontaneous. I immediately knew the photos would move people so I recently entered them in an international competition and my interest lies not in winning but hearing the reactions.

What would be a dream project for you?

I try not to dream too much. I would like to push through Portrait photography at some point . And on another level do a small documentary for National Geographic or collaborating with Lonely Planet. Combining travel with photography and getting paid to do it, well what more could you ask for?

Anything else you would like to share with our audience?

Well I have never been a very expressive person with my words or emotions, but with a camera in my hands everything seems different.  So If I had to give any advice to passionate people like me who are looking to push towards photography, it would be to just go out there and shoot, never afraid of making a fool of yourself. This is the only way to learn. 

Fashion Forward