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THIS PLACE explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers.

Their highly individualized works combine to create not a single, monolithic vision, but rather a diverse and fragmented portrait, alive to all the rifts and paradoxes of this important and much contested space.

The project follows in the tradition of such projects as the Mission Héliographique in nineteenth-century France and the Farm Security Administration in the United States, which gathered artists who use photography to ask essential questions about culture, society and the inner lives of individuals. Initiated by photographer Frederic Brenner, the completed project consists of a traveling exhibition, companion publications and a program of live events.

“When what is at stake is sharing the origin, it seems to me necessary to gather a large spectrum of individuals whose origins, passions and paradoxical and contradictory perspectives could help us grasp the unbearable complexity of this place and its voices.” — Frederic Brenner

Frederic Brenner

“Will we have the courage to question the narratives and the devouring myths that are the very anchor of our civilization?”

Frederic Brenner was born in France in 1959. Brenner is best known for his opus Diaspora, the result of a 25-year search in 40 countries to create a visual record of the Jewish people at the end of the twentieth century.

Diaspora opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2003, and has since been shown in cities throughout the world. Brenner has also had solo exhibits at venues such as the International Center of Photography in New York, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie Arles, the Musee de l'Elysee in Lausanne, as well as in Mexico City, Tel Aviv, Paris, Amsterdam and Buenos Aires.

Winner of Prix de Rome (1993), the Prix de Salon de la Photo (1982) and the Prix Niepce (1981), he has also directed an original film and has published six books, including Diaspora: Homelands in Exile (2003).

Wendy Ewald

“The active dialogue between the photographer and subject (and inevitably the viewer) became for me the essential point of a photograph. In this project I asked 14 groups of people from various regions and cultures to work with me to map Israel and the Occupied territories from within.”

Wendy Ewald was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1951.

She has spent more than 40 years collaborating with children, families, and teachers in Labrador, Colombia, India, England, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Holland, Mexico, Tanzania, and the United States.

In her work, she encourages her collaborators to use cameras (as well as using the camera herself) to record themselves, their families and their communities, and to articulate their fantasies and dreams. Ewald often has them mark or write on her own negatives, thereby challenging the concept of who actually makes an image.

She has had solo exhibitions at the International Center of Photography in New York, the Corcoran Gallery of American Art, the Fotomuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland among others and participated in the 1997 Whitney Biennial. Her many honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Her ten books include Secret Games and Towards a Promised Land. She currently teaches at Amherst College and at the Center for International Studies at Duke University.

Martin Kollar

“Some of the places I had the impression that I was on a film set, and I tried to bring this to the images. You don’t really know when the reality and the fiction somehow stops and starts.”

Martin Kollar was born in Zilina, Czechoslovakia (now Slovak Republic). He studied at the Academy of Performing Arts Bratislava and has been working as a freelance photographer and cinematographer since he graduated.

He has received several grants and awards, including the 3PPP photography grant, Fuji Film Euro Press Photo Award and the Backlight Photography Award in Finland. His work has been exhibited internationally, including shows at Maison Européenne de la Photographie Paris, France, Rencontres d’ Arles in France, MOCA Shanghai China, Guandong Museum of Art in China and Month of Photography in Krakow.

He has published three photography books, Nothing Special (Actes sud 2008), Cahier (Diaphane 2011) and Field Trip (Mack 2013).

He worked on several films as a cameraman, including Koza (fiction) Velvet terrorists (Fiction) Cooking History (documentary), Across the Border: Five views from the neighbours (documentary, episode: Helpers), 66 Seasons (documentary), Ladomirova Morytates and Legends (documentary).

Josef Koudelka

“This country is divided, each side reacts to that division in a different way, but the landscape can’t react.”

Josef Koudelka was born in Moravie, Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Trained as an aeronautical engineer, he began photographing in the 1950’s.

Koudelka left Czechoslovakia for political asylum in 1970 and shortly thereafter joined Magnum Photos.

Since 1986, he has worked with a panoramic camera, publishing a compilation of these photographs in his book Chaos (1999).

Significant exhibitions of his work have been held at the Museum of Modern Art and the I.C.P, New York; the Hayward Gallery, London; the Stedelijk Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris.

Koudelka’s images of Israel and the West Bank have been collected in a monograph titled Wall.

Jungjin Lee

“There, what I wished to do was to ‘gaze’ at the presence of the land

without being affected by its accumulated sorrow and desires

without adding my personal thoughts

like the silence of an olive tree that has been standing long histories”

Jungjin Lee was born in Korea in 1961 and currently lives and works in New York City.

Lee began photographing in the early 1980s while a Ceramics major at Hongik University in Seoul and later earned an M.F.A. in Photography from New York University. Known for her laborious and handcrafted photographic work printed on handmade mulberry paper, Lee creates cross-cultural photographic landscapes which intermix techniques and materials of Eastern and Western traditions of both painting and photography.

Lee’s landscapes are imbued with an elemental vastness that is at once powerful and serene. Lee’s ‘Unnamed Road’ series from Israel combines her signature mulberry paper printing with digital technologies.

Lee’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States, Europe, and Korea. Lee has published several books including Wind (2009), Jungjin Lee (2006), Thing (2005), Desert (2002), On Road/Ocean (2001), Jungjin Lee: Beyond Photography (2000), Wasteland (1997), and Lonely Cabin in a Far Away Island (1988).

Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea, among others.

Gilles Peress

“I have focused on East Jerusalem and more specifically the village of Silwan, adjacent to the Old City. The work aims at exploring continuity and discontinuity under different modalities of the dissonant relationship between the Palestinian and the Israeli experience.”

Gilles Peress (born 1946, France) began working with photography in 1970, having previously studied political science and philosophy in Paris. One of Peress’ first projects examined immigration in Europe, and from there he went on to explore and do projects in Northern Ireland, Palestine, Israel, Iran, the Balkans, Rwanda, etc. His current endeavor, Hate Thy Brother, a cycle of documentary narratives in books and on walls, looks at intolerance and the re-emergence of nationalism throughout the world and its consequences.

Peress’ books include Telex Iran; The Silence: Rwanda; Farewell to Bosnia; The Graves: Srebrenica and Vukovar; A Village Destroyed and Haines. Portfolios of his work have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, the London Sunday Times Magazine, Du magazine, Life, Parkett, Aperture and the New Yorker, amongst others.

His work has been exhibited and is collected by institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, PS1, all in New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Getty Museum in Los Angeles; the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; the V&A in London; the Musée d'Art Moderne, the Picasso Museum, Parc de la Villette and Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; the Fotomuseum Winterthur; the Museum Folkwang, Essen; the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, among others.

Peress has been the recipient of many awards and fellowships including the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts grant, Pollock-Krasner Grant, the New York State Council of the Arts Fellowship and the International Center of Photography Infinity Award.

Peress is Professor of Human Rights and Photography at Bard College, NY and Senior Research Fellow at the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley. He and his wife, Alison Cornyn, live in Brooklyn with their three children.

Fazal Sheikh

“I am not able to predict what will be a strong photograph. The most compelling images have come from remaining receptive to what the place has to offer.”

Born in 1965 in New York City, Fazal Sheikh is an artist who uses photographs to document people living in displaced and marginalized communities around the world.

His principle medium is the portrait, although his work also encompasses personal narratives, found photographs, sound, and his own written texts. While the subjects of his portraits are often dealing with extreme situations of war, famine, and exile, Sheikh’s images are never sensational; they are contemplative and respectful. He works from the conviction that a portrait is, as far as possible, an act of mutual engagement, and only through a long-term commitment to a place and to a community can a meaningful series of photographs be made. His overall aim is to contribute to a wider understanding of these groups, to respect them as individuals and to counter the ignorance and prejudice that often attaches to them. 

Since graduating from Princeton University in 1987 he has received many awards for his work, including a Fulbright Fellowship (1992), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1994), the Infinity Award (1995), the Leica Medal of Excellence (1995), Le Prix Dialogue de l’Humanité (2003), the Henri Cartier-Bresson International Grand Prize (2005), and the Lucie Humanitarian Award (2009). In 2005 he was named a MacArthur Fellow, and in 2012 he was named a Guggenheim Fellow. Fazal Sheikh’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, including Tate Modern, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Paris.

Sheikh’s ten books include The Victor Weeps, Moksha, and Ether, many of which have been made available online free of charge.

Stephen Shore

“By directing my attention to different subjects and approaching them with a range of photographic techniques, I am attempting to allude to the complexity of Israeli life.”

Stephen Shore was born in 1947 in New York and currently lives in Tivoli, New York.

Shore’s work has been widely published and exhibited for the past forty years. His career began at the early age of fourteen, when he made the precocious move of presenting his photographs to Edward Steichen, then curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Recognizing Shore’s talent, Steichen bought three of his works.

At the age of 24 Shore became the first living photographer to have a one-man show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, since a show of Alfred Stieglitz forty years earlier.

He has also had one-man shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; PS1/MoMA, New York; George Eastman House, Rochester; Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Jeu de Paume, Paris; Art Institute of Chicago; and Fundación Mapfre, Madrid and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Shore is the Director of the Photography Program at Bard College.

As part of This Place, Shore will publish From Galilee to the Negev (Phaidon 2014)

Rosalind Solomon

“I wander and connect as best I can. I saw and felt…informed by the unexpected.”

Rosalind Fox Solomon was born in Highland Park, Illinois in 1930 and currently lives in New York City. She examines relationships and survival through portraits and ritual. The deep connection between her acquaintance with rejection, struggle and sorrow is evident in her imagery and poetry. She has worked extensively in the American South and in New York; Ancash, Peru and Kolkata, India.

Solomon’s photographs are in the collections of over 50 museums and her work has been shown in nearly 30 solo exhibitions and 100 group exhibitions. John Szarkowski chose 50 of her pictures for MoMA’s permanent collection, followed by her solo MoMA exhibition, “Rosalind Solomon, Ritual”.

She is the recipient of numerous honors, including fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Society of Indian Studies. Her books include Chapalingas and Polish Shadow.

Thomas Struth

“My interest, or hope, or intent is to address something which has a larger scale, a larger value, than the specific details or locations shown. The photographs must ultimately be driven by interests on a more general level.”

Thomas Struth (born 1954 in Geldern) lives and works in Berlin and New York. He is regarded as one of the world’s foremost contemporary artists. From 1973 to 1980, Struth studied at the State Academy of Art in Düsseldorf. In 1977 he was the first student to receive a scholarship from the Düsseldorf Academy to live and work in New York. There he created a series of black-and-white urban landscapes, which he showed in his first solo exhibition at P.S.1, New York, in 1978.

In the mid-1980s, he started on a series of both black-and-white and colored portraits of individuals and families illustrating his vision of photography as a science-derived tool for psychological investigation. This continuing work examines the personal and cultural dynamics that condition our self-image, exploring how this self-image will influence our individual and collective identities. Following these portrait works and struck by the growing popularity of contemporary art, Struth developed his best-known series, *the Museum Photographs* (1989–2005). Here he captures individuals and crowds looking at iconic works of Western art in the great museums of the world. These images characterize museum visits as complex social rituals of seeing and being seen and address the issue of the way the art survives in public collections.

Over the last 15 years, Struth has steadily expanded his repertoire with other themes. These include New Pictures from Paradise (1998–2007), gathering places for religious believers or tourists (from 1998), and, beginning in 2007, images from the fields of science and research, industrial production and technology, which show how our faith in progress can be visually represented as a process of group dynamics.

Comprehensive exhibitions of Struth’s works have been mounted at institutions such as the Kunsthalle Bern (1987), the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1994), the Carré d’Art – Musée d’Art Contemporain de Nîmes (1998), the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and Kyoto (2000), the Dallas Museum of Art (2002), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2003), and the Museo del Prado, Madrid (2007). A major retrospective has toured from the Kunsthaus Zürich (2010) via the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen K20 in Düsseldorf to the Whitechapel Gallery London (2011), and the Museu Serralves in Porto (2011–2012).

A large number of monographs have been published on his oeuvre, including: Unbewusste Orte, Kunsthalle Bern (1987), Still, Carré d’Art Nîmes/Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam/CNP Paris, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich (1998), Thomas Struth, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich (2001), Thomas Struth 1977–2002, Dallas Museum of Art et al., Schirmer/Mosel, Munich (2002), Thomas Struth: Korea 2007–2010, Gallery Hyundai, Seoul (2010), Thomas Struth: Works, 2007–2010, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York (2010), Thomas Struth: Photographs 1978–2010, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich (2010), and Thomas Struth: Unconscious Places, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich (2012).

Jeff Wall

Jeff Wall devoted his time in Israel to creating a single large-scale picture, titled “Sleeping Olive Harvest Workers,” shot on the farm Kerem Behar Hanegev, near the town of Mitzpe Ramon.

“I was not looking for something. Looking doesn’t work. I drift along and see what happens. If I hadn’t stumbled across something, I would have left.”

Jeff Wall was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1946.

He studied art history at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and at the Courtauld Institute, London. His work has been exhibited in numerous international exhibitions, including at the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan (2013), the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2012), and the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City (2008). He had a touring solo retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Art Institute of Chicago; and the San Francisco Museum of Art, in 2007.

Jeff Wall has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts (2008), The Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Art Photography (2001); Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (2002); and the Roswitha Haftmann Prize for the Visual Arts (2003).

Nick Waplington

“Settlement deals and the problematic and contradictory nature of Settler identity, these communities that occupy territory deemed illegal by the international community are a polarizing presence within Israel and beyond. I wanted to know why these people are there, to reach beyond the stereotypes and engage with the land and the people themselves.”

Nick Waplington received an ICP Infinity award in 1993, and represented the UK at the Venice Biennale in 2001, he has exhibited widely including the Whitechapel Gallery, London and The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. His work is held in a number of prominent museum collections including Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, and M.O.M.A, New York.