The exhibition “Frames of Reality”, displayed at the Ana Tzarev Gallery until June 9th, is the result of one year of cooperation between Israeli and Palestinians Photo-journalists at the initiative of the Peres Center for Peace.
Created ten years ago, the Israeli based Peres Center for Peace has the mission to build an infrastructure of peace and reconciliation by and for the people of the Middle East that promotes socio-economic development, while advancing cooperation and mutual understanding. Education and culture are also a large part of the activities, by for instance organizing theater courses mixing Israeli and Palestinians childrens. In April 2008 with the association of “Local Testimony”, 20 Israeli and Palestinian photojournalists, already hailed from agencies like Reuter, Associated Press, Agence France Presse etc, started an educational program, organized as 10-12 workshops with professional lecturers who talked about photography, social changes, journalism and so on.
The goal was multiple: to show to each journalist the ”other side”, to give them the opportunity to improve their skills, to build a creative work, and to form solid links between Palestinians and Israelis. The last session of this program, was to produce photographs as an observation of the reality of life in their region. The result is impressive: no anger is expressed; we really feel the photographs are the result of an elaborate process of maturity. Furthermore, each one in their singularity, they succeed to make us travel into their intimacy. Some are very politically engaged, like the one of Alaa Badarneh “Life in the Shadow of occupation”, some other are more poetic, like Inbal Rose’s work “Golan Cowboys”.
This building peace process completely succeeded, artistically, and socially : Indeed, the website created for the occasion created a real network. It serves today as an important medium of communication and as a critical channel for contact (for instance during the hostilities in Gaza in December and January 2009). There is now 750 members and about 4,000 photos uploaded.
As a conclusion, and to give a first taste on the exhibition, here is an example of text that accompany the serie of photographs : Ali Noureldine; ‘From me, in Gaza, to you’
“I wanted to talk about my photographs of the area I work in. All my life, I’ve lived in the Gaza Strip. From a young age, I loved journalistic work very much. When I entered the field and started to work, I was exposed to events and happenings in the area at an especially high frequency. In terms of the photographs presented, I identify through them an act of speech in the full sense of the word, about the region, depicting the suffering of the people who inhabit it and the difficulty of life in the shadow the existing reality.
Every day I try to convey a picture of reality for the benefit of people who live in the outside world. My present work does not curb my love for other areas in the world of photography.
Often, I find myself inside my photographs. Maybe this stems from the high frequency of identical events occurring in the area, but I think that it comes mainly from my presence at these events, a presence that makes me feel as if I lived inside the photograph.
The photographs presented before you deal with a very long period of time in the Gaza Strip. I see myself as someone who goes on with his work while improving and developing my understanding and talent in the area of photography. I relate to the profession of photography as a calling aiming to reflect and convey reality and events occurring in every area in the world, for the benefit of all people in the world.”
[Visuals : above : WIissam Nassar, untitled, Photograph, 2008. Below, Ali Noureldine ‘From me, in Gaza, to you’, Untitled, Photograph. All right reserved]