I explore the subtle alternate realities that emerge from the "real" reality out there. The video form allows me to further explore, and bring into the open, human boundary seeking and discomforts that occur when people interact.
A continuing series depicting people in public spaces - in this case, in a particular type of "Public Space" - the art display "While Cube".
Binyamin Gallery in Tel Aviv (http://www.binyamin-gallery.com)
It's about claiming a piece of public space, and interfering (one way or another) with the strangers around me.
The Golda Project is a joint initiative with “Golda”, a second hand clothing shop.
My goal is to combine Art, Consumerism and play in a new and fun way. The shop sells clothes. I, on the other hand, am interested in the female image as it is expressed in front of the camera.
This studio, set up in a spare room within the shop, instead of being just a “place where one comes to be photographed” is a central part of the exciting event. The photographs are, almost, just a byproduct to a most memorable experience.
And what about the Art?
As always, when photographing people, I look for the defenseless moments, the elusive place that creates an alternate reality that was not there.
I have got off a bus, probably my first bus ride (in Israel) for more than twenty years. Makes one feel a tourist in your own country. What a great setting for a fresh look at the city you know so well.
While not really news by now (the Celeste Prize 2010 took place in December 2010), I have only last week received the exhibition catalog.
A weekly publication of a three poems and one image - in hebrew (Zuta)
There is a lot in common between poems and images: A poem to an image is like a story is to a film. Both capture a fleeting moment and, if good, live forever after in your mind.
I attended, with several hundred other people, Jeff Wall's talk given at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. My "take away" points:
And then, just the next day - out of the blue - I heard that a photograph of mine was selected to be one of 10 photography finalists in the 2010 Celeste Prize Exhibition in New York between 11th of 13th of December 2010 (http://www.celesteprize.com/eng_1261)
Winning this competition is not important. Being selected from many by a professional jury is enough. One of the judges selecting my work wrote to me: "I found it a strangely beautiful image, not only for formal reasons, but like a good photographs it possessed an inexplicable inner life".
This exhibition does provide me the opportunity and justification to be in New York again. I do want the chance to see my photograph hanging on an exhibition wall for every one to see. Isn't it true that a picture can become Art only when viewed by someone?
A city is a place where people gather. Visiting an unfamiliar city is an opportunity to meet unfamiliar people in a place I do not know. I come as a visitor but I am not interested in the eye of a tourist. I do not want to photograph the city, to document what has been documented uncounted times before. The city is a pretext - its streets, houses, sights and sites are only a backdrop for the inner state of people in the city.
I wander around the city, full of wonderment. I seek the people that signal me with their silent messages, addressing my subconsciousness. I look at them through my lens, awaiting that split second in which they lose their self awareness and purpose - to become both an individual and a symbol. Sometimes this moment never comes, other times I miss it completely, and all too often I misinterpret their wilingness to drop their mask. Almost always they are not aware of my presense, and when they are, I hope to capture the essense before they have time to change.
What does a feminist say about nude photographs? It depends.
Some time ago I posted a version of this photograph on a photography sharing site. A furious debate erupted with a claim I am humiliating all women (as one male photographer wrote). There were also positive comments, but they are not the subject of this post.
The debate went on for a couple of days, until the following was posted by a woman, Ayelet. She wrote (freely translated and published with her explicit permission):
"I want to say something I was afraid to say until now. This is meant mostly for Jay. When I first saw your photograph I was really angry, absolutely raving mad: How dare a man humiliate a woman in such a way??? I could not bring myself to comment because I was so mad.
A few days later I came back to read comments from others - and I was still very angry after looking at the photograph.
As time went by, I started to think about it some more. The anger started to subside, and then it hit me.
I suddenly understood I have been "damaged". Within the framework of this "Bullshit Feminism" we adopted, we did something very bad to ourselves. We, women, have only ourselves to blame.
We so wanted to be appreciated, to show the world that we are equals. In fact, that we are better! We started careers as women that have something to say.. But we also wanted to be seen. We became addicted to shopping, hair removal, make-up, cosmetics and more. But, in fact, we are "addicted" to another thing- to being a woman. And as a woman, nature gave us something we can't avoid - the mother instinct. This cannot be ignored even if you are a passionate feminist that feels you are allowed to keep your body undamaged by childbirth, that you can prefer yourself over your kid, and that you are entitled to leave the house in a less than spotless state - even knowing your babies will crawl all over that filthy floor. Oh really?? No! It's not that you are not allowed - you just can't! This motherly instinct will always be there.
So what does it have to do with my anger? Everything! While the media is full of perfectly looking thin models on every corner and sign, you still need to give birth. You will be left with folds on our stomach and fat that does not want to go away. You will get up in the middle of the night to feed your baby. You will get up early to dress him and get him ready for the day. Then you will stop putting on makeup before work because you are late. You will stop going to the gym because you have two "jobs". You will not buy new clothes because now you prefer to spend the money on your kid. You will no longer feel sexy even for your husband (and here I start crying. Fuck you, Jay! What did you do???). And then you no longer spend the same energy at work like before and your boss will give the promotion to the guy that sits next to you because he can spend more time at work while you will be doing washing, cleaning and breast feeding.
What is left is to hope your husband will continue loving you in spite of all that – and what is more important, that you will continue to love yourself. But how? Everywhere you look, everyone is promoting the thin look, shopping, beauty, body care. It is not bad - but what to do when it is impossible? You really try, but you can't!!
And this is where you enter, Jay. You reduce my anger (after all) but at the same time increase it hundred times more. My anger towards you subsided and shifted towards the rest of the world. Towards the clothes makers, the cosmetics firms, the marketers, the photographers, the publishers, and mostly towards us - women: That we did not see this coming and then let ourselves into this trap from which we have a long and difficult path to get out.
So… thank you, dear feminists, that you made me angry while seeing a photo of a real woman with all her beauty and faults. Thank you so much!!"
That was what Ayelet wrote.
It is not often that I get a glimpse of what goes on inside a person's head when seeing a photograph of mine. I want to thank Ayelet for sharing and for letting me know I made a difference. Small as it may be.
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