Following the principles behind Mission Héliographique in the 19th century France and the Farm Security Administration in the United States, twelve internationally renowned photographers started their own documentation project - the one of Israel and the West Bank, created over the course of three years, between 2009 and 2012. Through the unique and united visions of Frédéric Brenner, Wendy Ewald, Martin Kollar, Josef Koudelka, Jungjin Lee, Gilles Peress, Fazal Sheikh, Stephen Shore, Rosalind Fox Solomon, Thomas Struth, Jeff Wall and Nick Waplington, we now have the opportunity to take a different look at these sensitive territories and witness the stories of people inhabiting them. After showing at DOX Center for Art in Prague, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the This Place exhibition will soon be on view at Brooklyn Museum, accompanied by an illustrated catalog.
Determined to send the world a different kind of image of Israel and the West Bank than the one that was already been widely endorsed by the media, photographer Frédéric Brenner started This Place project in 2005. An experienced capturer of Jewish communities around the world, he was aware of photography’s power to reveal the very essence of any culture, society or individual, and with this in mind he relied on the visions of not one, but twelve prominent image-makers. Each of them provided a unique take of the places and people around them; having been free to approach their subjects as they choose, they got in touch with a splendid number of individuals and communities throughout the West Bank and Israel, creating a documentation of their everyday life that spans an array of impressions.
With each and every one-of-a-kind photographic style, This Place depicts a portrait of a very special place with a turbulent history and ongoing tensions. But instead of simply reminding us of the unrest in the region, these photographs invite us to look beyond the polarising narratives we’re used to, and to delve into those who live there, their identity and sense of unity, the particular landscapes and the consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts - sometimes hidden away from our first glance. Through more than 600 photographs on view, we find ourselves in an engaging conversation that makes us pose questions and look for answers at the same time, while investing the compelling narrative before us.
They are twelve different perspectives and approaches on Israel and the West Bank, but together they create one single idea of these resonant and paradoxical places, filled with history, passion, desolation and hope; where life goes on and stories are told in spite of all and any odds. The This Place exhibition will be on view from February 12th through June 5th in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing of the Brooklyn Museum in New York, USA.
Featured images in slider: Wendy Ewald - At Home, photograph by Amal, Negev Desert, 2012. Archival pigment ink print mounted on aluminum, 5 3/8 x 6 7/8 in. (13.7 x 17.5 cm). © Wendy Ewald, all rights reserved; Wendy Ewald - Doves, photograph by Mohammad (A), Negev Desert, 2012. Archival pigment ink print mounted on aluminum, 5 3/8 x 6 7/8 in. (13.7 x 17.5 cm). © Wendy Ewald, all rights reserved; Stephen Shore - St. Sabas Monastery, Judean Desert, Israel, September 20, 2009. Chromogenic print, 36 x 45 in. (91.4 x 114.3 cm). Courtesy of the artist and 303 Gallery, New York. © Stephen Shore, all rights reserved; Frédéric Brenner - Ruth Chaya Leonov- Carmely, Nechama Weitman, Pnina Leonov, 2010. Archival pigment print, 23 5/8 x 18 3⁄4 in. (60 x 47.7 cm). © Frederic Brenner, courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York; Martin Kollar - Untitled from the series Field Trip, 2009–11. Color print, 27 1/2 x 41 3/8 in. (70 x 105 cm). Courtesy of the artist; Nick Waplington - Untitled, 2008–13. Chromogenic print, 18 x 22 in. (45.72 x 55.88 cm). Courtesy of the artist. © Nick Waplington; Jungjin Lee - Unnamed Road 083, 2011. Archival pigment print, 40 x 78 1/4 in. (102 x 200 cm). Collection of the artist. © Jungjin Lee; Gilles Peress - Contact Sheet, Palestinian Jerusalem, 2013. Installation view detail, overall h. 129 3⁄4 in. (341 cm). © Gilles Peress. All images courtesy of Brooklyn Museum.