This is how my girls see their dad and his passion. – Tali’s address on opening my exhibition.
As I look at the exhibition childhood memories, shared by my sister Ariella and I, come to life. The first time we entered our father’s world, the darkroom, an ordinary bedroom transformed by light-blocking materials and the strong smell of chemicals, we learned of Daddy’s love of photography. We were exposed to the forever magical moment of a blank sheet of paper coming to life with an image of a person, a human being and even then we fealt that we were taking part in something special.
As you can see, one of Daddy’s favourite subjects is the Jerusalem Ben Yehudah ‘midrahov’ (pedestrian mall). Time and again, he would go to that same street and take photographs. Yet, each picture taken would reveal new surprises, introduce us to the world as seen through Seymour’s loving eyes and turn us too into “people watchers fascinated by the human race”.
In an attempt to step into Daddy’s big shoes, I too tried my hand at “people street photography”. It isn’t easy, the Israeli street is suspicious and uncooperative, but look around you! The people in Seymour’s photographs share their world with us. His respect for the people he photographs is evident. It is this basic, straightforward and respectful approach that allows the people photographed to let him and us in and become a part of that personal moment in their lives. More than once I asked, “Daddy, how do you do it?” and he replied, “you have to become a part of the street until you are unnoticed”, and herein lies part of the answer. Seymour becomes part of that street and is one of the characters that he is photographing and this, I am convinced, requires a great deal of modesty, respect and, yes, love.
As I grew older and with the education I acquired, I learned to analyse my father’s photography from a professional point of view. I started to identify the strength of composition and understand how he leads our eye to see the contrasts. How he accentuates the unique combinations that can only be found in the streets of Jerusalem, and always in a positive way that raises a smile. It is this non-judgemental eye that gives us the direct, honest look, but nevertheless a look full of optimism and life. Reality as it is and as we love to see it.