Sunday, November 15, 2009

Israel - Work in Progress

Local email lists in Gush Etzion asked families to participate in a mammoth photography project, called ISRAEL - WORK IN PROGRESS. It's the undertaking of photographer Frederick Brenner, who spent 25 years of his life snapping thousands of Jews in 40 countries across the globe. The outcome was a two-volume masterpiece called Diaspora: Homelands in Exile, published by HarperCollins.
According to the Jewish Virtual Library, "[Diaspora] is the most extensive visual record of Jewish life ever created. It is the result of a 25-year journey that took Brenner to more than 40 countries on five continents. 'What I did,' Brenner said, 'is to deconstruct the image of the Jew and to say there is not one way of being a Jew, but as many ways as there are of being a man or woman among the nations.'”
And so he explored the face of Jewry from "India to Sarajevo, from Rome to New York, from Beijing to Buenos Aires, and to Morocco and Ethiopia."
Brenner's newest project explores the face of Jewry throughout Israel - from north to south and everything in between - with ten photographers responsible for covering different regions in the country.
British photographer Nick Waplinton is photographing families throughout Yesha. Many of the families are Anglos, and he finds it interesting to understand why they left their "normal lives in the Diaspora to move their families to a place with an element of danger."
I tagged along as he photographed a young Israeli couple and an older South American one, both in Alon Shvut. Nick has photographed more than 50 families throughout Efrat and Gush Etzion, including Meitzad, Pnei Kedem, Maaleh Amos, Tekoa, Bat Ayin, Alon Shvut and Efrat. He said that the differences between people in each of the communities is fascinating. His goal is to capture at least 300 families in his lens. He will be working in Israel until April.
Nick is taking portraits of each family, and even sending the family a copy of their portrait.
Any family that is interested in being photographed for this project is invited to contact Nechama Variogs, 050-233-0381, .
To find out more about ISRAEL: Work in Progress, you can view the Efrat/Gush Etzion TV video at .

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