Eli Atias | Dialogue

Dialogue is our starting point. A process cannot exist without dialogue, whether internal or external, confined to the home or out in the open. Dialogue between art and documentation is what allows the story to be told. At the moment when art and documentation meet, all elements converge into a unified whole. Through dialogue we attempt to tell the story of an entire community.

The distance is not great. One does not need to travel across the sea, just cross the road. The distance is theoretical, it exists only in our minds. When we cross it, we find ourselves at the heart of one of the most fascinating communities in the Israeli landscape – the Bedouins.

The family is the cornerstone of the Bedouin lifestyle. Tribalism is the anchor which provides a sense of belonging, of community, of security and cohesion. The struggle to preserve the positive aspects of tradition is apparent.

The familiar house is changing its form. The functional aesthetic is geared towards the family, hospitality and communal living. The house is no longer nomadic, but it feels as if at any moment its occupants are about to pack up everything and move on. There is no hoarding, and the connection to the land remains strong, whether the house is in the city or the countryside.

The territory is part of a Bedouin’s soul and essence. Beyond the private sphere, the public one is in turmoil; we are at the heart of the storm. Our first encounters were tentative, but the camera gave us the confidence to let a different voice be heard.

It is fascinating to encounter a community undergoing a process of transformation. This is a community that chooses to cling to ancient traditions, and yet strives for progress. The result is a meeting point between religions and cultures. Our encounters eliminate prejudice and lead to new insights.

Observation. We have the privilege to get to know this warm and welcoming community. Our eyes take in the sights, our ears the voices, our mouths savor the delicious food. All that is left is to translate our experience into an image.

Time is significant, and our process is ongoing. We continue to experience the hours, days, seasons, generations. We take our time.

Integration is a choice, not a hardship. It is the choice to live together, to try and understand and accept each other.

The camera allowed us to get closer, to break down barriers, to form connections and observe even without being active participants. The camera gave us the confidence that we were doing something significant. Each photographic decision we make affects the message we want to get across, and every detail sheds new light on the lifestyle we are striving to portray.

About the Group
We are a collective of photographers from varying professional backgrounds. In the past few years we have dedicated ourselves to social engagements for the community and different educational initiatives. Documentary photography is an inseparable part of our lives. We choose to take action and use our photographs to hold a mirror up to the society in which we live.


Top Photo: Michael Agur

Eli Atias , Debbie Morag , Yael Lichtenstein, Michael Agur, Miri Nagler

Eli Atias

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