Central Exhibition of the 9th International Photography Festival
At a time when everyday meetings that we’ve always taken for granted have changed throughout the world, the idea of a “meeting point” has become especially significant. A meeting point is an encounter between acquaintances or strangers, a crossroads between different cultures and points of view, a moment in which the present becomes past and dream becomes reality. 840 photographers from around the world submitted their work for the 9th International Photography Festival open call. All bodies of work were related to the Festival’s annual theme – Meeting Point – and our artistic committee selected 20 of them to be exhibited here.
A central theme of the works in this exhibition is the artists’ relationships with their families, and especially Parental Relations. Some explored their relationship with their parents through the lens of the immigrant experience and their sense of belonging to a place or a home, while others touched on the presence or absence of parental relations. The meeting point Between Memory and the Imaginary was highlighted by artists who recreated family memories out of fragments of an oral and photographic past, and especially from their own imaginations. These artists revive the past, combining archival material in their work and awakening real and imaginary memories. Why have so many artists focused on family in their work? Perhaps it was the lockdown which made us think of those closest to us, of the relationships we were missing, of the past and its distance from the present. Pandemic Encounters appear in the exhibition through social distancing symbols, which underscore our longing for a direct, physical and unregulated meeting point. Quarantines made us face our own internal world and emphasized the loneliness of those who suffered from solitude even before the pandemic. Culture Clash is another central theme of the exhibition, as evident in works which depict the lives of disparate cultures living side by side and clinging to a lost past; which represent the gap between children and adults; and which document communities that have segregated themselves from the dominant culture around them and attempt to balance tradition and autonomy with the changing times and the demands of their environment.
About half of the artists in this exhibition elected to use analog and black-and-white photography. It’s possible that this trend, which has become increasingly popular in the past few years, is related to these artists’ interest in the past. At the same time, it may also speak to a desire to distance oneself from the digital technology which encases our lives and whose influence only continues to grow. It’s interesting to examine how this worldwide event is reflected in photographs from all over the world, and how it will alter the photographic medium in the long run. However, even after the effects of the pandemic are long gone and forgotten, meeting points will continue to be a central, inseparable part of human culture and nature.
Ya’ara Raz Haklai
Chief Curator, The International Photography Festival
Many thanks to the members of our artistic committee:
Michal Baror. Artist, researcher and lecturer at Musrara art school and the Kibbutzim College of Education
Ohad Benit. Concept Designer, PHOTO IS:RAEL
Itay Blaish. Designer and curator, Founder and Chief Curator of LaCULTURE TLV
Ya’ara Raz Haklai. Chief Curator and Content Manager, PHOTO IS:RAEL
Eyal Landesman. Director, PHOTO IS:RAEL
Michal Vaknin – Artistic Director, Israel Festival
Oded Yedaya – Photographer, artist, Founder and Director of the Minshar School of Art
Dr. Merav Yerushalmy – Contemporary art and photography researcher and lecturer
Amira Kasim Ziyan – Photographer, artist and teacher
Top Photo: Selene Magnolia
Ya'ara Raz Haklai
Vitali Krivich (Israel), Eliko Ner Gaon (Israel), Bartzi Goldblat (Israel), Alexa Hoyer (USA/Germany), Forest Kelley (USA), Clair Robins (United Kingdom), Bart Urbanski (United Kingdom\Poland), Emil Lombardo (United Kingdom), Alex Blanco (Netherlands), Cristian Geelen (Netherlands), Ciro Battiloro (Italy), Viktoria Sorochinski (Israel/Canada/Germany), Selene Magnolia (Germany), Natalia Kepesz (Germany),Antonio Rodriguez (Guatemala/Germany), Michel Le Belhomme (France), Anikitos Hadjicharalambous (Cyprus), Tim Smith (Canada), Madeline Bishop (Australia), Valery Melnikov (Russia)