When I was 15, I took a walk in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim Ultra Orthodox neighborhood with a camera I got as a birthday gift from my parents. The camera opened up the world before me, and shaped me as a teenager and later as an adult.
To some extent in this exhibition I make a full circle, since it deals with the Jewish Orthodox society – which despite its isolation is still a part of the Israeli society. In other words, you could say that the exhibition deals with humans as beings that cannot be categorized. Every man is an individual character, regardless of which faction of the population he belongs to, what is his socioeconomic status or what are his beliefs.
During the work I examined various modes of photography and realized that I want to photograph events in the life of the Jewish Orthodox society – the public and behind the screen – in authentic documentary style, as opposed to photojournalism or staged photography. The editors of the daily newspapers with whom I work, like to use photographs that capture Orthodox Jews during acts of protest, and thus perpetuate a one-dimensional, separate society, which does not take part in the ways of life of the state and its institutions. In many respects my choices in this exhibition are opposite: the photographs are not judgmental or critical, and most of them were captured after a long period of building a relationship of trust and friendship.
One of the conclusions I reached in the project is that the subject of the photographs has to be liked. For many years I was involved, from the sideline, in their ways of life, I watched them, learned from them about family life, mutual help, the power of faith – not necessarily religious, and the possibility of being Jewish and not necessarily a Zionist.