Laura Pannack

This is the first chapter in a series of works influenced by folktales that explore the theme of life and death.

Featuring: Laura Pannack

Nominated by

Michael Foley


How long do we have on this world? If you could live forever, would you?

Intrigued by the fragility of life, I decided to embark on a quest to explore these questions. The project doesn’t seek to answer these questions or even address them, but to ponder them.

In 2013, I visited Romania for the first time—it was a tip-off from an old friend who has known me since birth. I needed to escape and the country’s hazy purple evening light and untouched land allowed me to gather my thoughts. I found myself returning to Romania and began to think about how I could visually explore the ideas of time, journeys, and the cycle of life and death. I stumbled across a folktale entitled, ‘Youth Without Age and Life Without Death.’

The story follows a young prince on his quest for eternal life—discovering love, and eventually, eternal life. Overcome with lament, the prince realizes that happiness and satiety are not held in time, but in what we use our time for.

Inspired by the themes of the folktale, I produced work that does not follow a literal narrative but is instead a collision of reality and fantasy. Symbols and visual cues are playfully introduced and encourage the viewer to embark on his or her own journey.

This is the first chapter of a larger work that will explore Romania and other regions of the Balkans, each one with a focus on a local folktale relating to life and death as the source of inspiration.


My art focuses on social documentary and portraiture, and seeks to explore the complex relationship between subject and photographer.

I am driven by research-led, self-initiated projects that push me both as an artist and as an individual. I need to question what I don’t understand and access the worlds closed off to me. I am drawn to adventure, I want to roam and play with the limitations and dynamics of photography as an art and as an act.

I largely shoot on analog film, allowing the process to be organic rather than predefined by fixed ideas, thus removing additional pressure on the subject.

I try to understand the lives of those I capture and to present them creatively. I am a firm believer that time, trust and understanding is the key to portraying subjects truthfully, and therefore many of my projects develop over several years.

This particular approach allows a genuine connection to exist between subject and photographer, which in turn elucidates the intimacy of these very human exchanges. My images aim to suggest the shared ideas and experiences that are entwined in each frame that I shoot.