No this is not about the socio-economically deprived, it is about the way I see this ‘in/with it’ PC concept, which is perhaps another description of my photography. It seems that when trying to analyse one’s work, at times labels are necessary for the sake of clarity and description.
When I told you earlier about the photographers whose work excite and inspire me, I realised that they covered all of the different aspects of people photography. It’s not only the street people of Cartier-Bresson, Doisneau or Winogrand, nor is it only the horror of war as recorded by Capa and Nachtwey. It is not only the ‘formal’ portraiture of Karsh nor Lord Snowdon, neither is it only the photographics of Sam Haskins nor the fashion of David Bailey nor the eroticism of Helmut Newton.
It is apparent to me that anything to do with people is what interests me. Whether it be sadness, happiness, tragedy, joy, the ordinary, the every day, these all are different aspects of ‘the human condition’. The sad, unfortunate and tragic do not have a monopoly on the human condition. The happy, joyous, fun and everyday all have their place in the human condition too. Photographing only the homeless or the aged is not a testimony to the human condition. It is too ‘easy’ and misleading.
Thus as I am scanning my photographic archives I see that in my work over the years I have encompassed many of these different components of the human condition, the human race, life. From my legless buddy on Jaffa Rd. to the laughing mother and daughter trying to deal successfully with her dripping ice-cream cone on the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall to the two friends happily discussing whatever.
When I started doing the triage for my exhibition, one of the first decisions I made was that this was to be a ‘light’ exhibition. The mood was to be ‘happy’. It was too easy to do a ‘heavy’, ‘dark’ show and besides, why was it always ‘necessary/obligatory/fashionable/trendy’ to only show pain, misery and suffering. So the exhibition had a little tragedy/sadness, lots of the ordinary/everyday and a good dose of smiles and laughter. Observing the audience and listening to their comments as well as reading the comments in the visitors’ book, confirmed that I’d got it right and the general atmosphere and feeling of the spectators was light, happy and good.
Now looking at the overall archive of my work, I see that all my photography over the years has covered pretty much much of the whole of the human condition. there is no emphasis on one aspect. No great big project on the homeless, beggars or the aftermaths of suicide bomber attacks and believe me it was not for lack of opportunity, having lived over 35 years in Jerusalem and being a reserve company commander of the Jerusalem stand-by rescue unit.
The fact that I was able to put together an exhibition of over 90 photographs of the overall ‘human condition’ of Jerusalem, a basically very fair representation of everyday life while instilling the happy feeling, makes me believe that for 40 years I’ve been getting it pretty close to right.