Briefly describe the work you do.
I am making work with the medium of photography that reflects back on the influence photography has on our perception of reality. I am either recreating existing images or places I’ve seen before in photographs by making a miniature resembling them or by photographing the landscape
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I am originally from a small town in Israel, Maale Adummim, that is not far from the Dead Sea. I lived in Israel for 26 years and joined the army at the age of 18. Throughout my entire life photography was used to describe the history of the land surrounding me, and I’ve been taught about the many wars and battles that the hills and valleys around me had seen. My perception of the state of Israel have adapted to overlay its past in the form of images on top of the emptiness of the temporary calm landscape and its past battle grounds. I’ve learned that we cannot unsee the world we’ve first came to know through images, and therefore we constantly compare the world that we see ourselves with the one reflected in images.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
My studio is also my home. I make miniatures or photograph landscapes, and therefore I never felt the need to have a separate studio. My miniatures are only made to become a photograph, I see them as visions more than a physical thing. I am working with them inside my home as if they were inside my head, where the photograph serves as the final fixed output of a thought. I cannot tell what is the amount of time I am spending in my home under the function of a studio, but I can definitely say that when I have an idea I will put everything aside and will rush towards making the image as fast as I can.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
I would have never thought I would be making miniatures as a major part of my practice. It is not my hobby and never was before I started, and even today I am not making them for the fun of it. I felt the need to make them as a way to convey certain ideas using the medium of photography that I feel I couldn’t have done it any other way.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
The best time to make art is when it is urgent. I know when the time is right when I am excited about a new idea and I am manipulating the schedule bending everything that I can (even attempting at cheating time, which never works) with the intent to start making, producing and / or photographing.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
Five years ago my work was all over the place (except from my body of work ‘Behind The Zoo’), a lot of things were going on inside my head and I couldn’t find my own voice to channel them out using photography. In late 2012 I made my first miniature, and it changed my life. Although I always feel like I am progressing, and moving forward, looking back, even towards the things I used to make as a child, it seems that in general nothing has changed. I believe that is not that you change, but rather you discover who you are.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
My wife, Dana Stirling, is the main reason I went 180º from being a Digital Photography fundamentalist into a Large Format film photographer. Dana started her BA in Photography while I was at my third year, and her work taught me about the soul that film has, and to see color in slide film rather than colors represented on a computer screen. I am forever thankful for that.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
I never wanted to be an artist, but I always pursued being one without knowing. I didn’t want to become what I had in mind being an artist means, which I thought as a child and a teenager, one that is being selfish and self-absorbed. I am still not sure what is the definition of an artist, but I do know that I am pursuing the idea of making work that I can share, that will have contribution to society and that it will not be selfish.
Other than photography, and only recently, I’ve discovered my love for working with wood. There is something about the organic characteristics of the material that inspire me to make and create. I don’t know where it will take me but I am very happy with this new discovery.
My Grandfather Kurt fled Austria immediately to Israel after the Kristallnacht, was a British Brigades soldier during WWII and later served in the Israeli Army. I grew up in the valleys of the Judean Desert between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. I am native to Israel but uprooted from my past. After High School I’ve joined the Israeli army for a mandatory service of 3 years. I started as a paratrooper, and became the fourth generation of army soldiers.
I’d got my B.A in photography from Hadassah College Jerusalem (2011), and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.