The American street is the heart of the Western civilization - the civilization of consumption. The individual is swallowed by an inflation of images, full of colors and symbols.
For Gabi Ben Avraham, the American street is the heart of the Western civilization - a civilization of consumption, and people are overwhelmed by a sensory overload of images, full of colors and symbols.
The 58-year-old street photographer from Tel Aviv is fascinated by how Americans are so naturally assimilated in this visual abundance. Their clothes are printed using the same images; sometimes they are tattooed right on their skins. People forfeit individuality for a set of symbols that flood reality, becoming another commodity manipulated by capitalists who laugh all the way to the offshore banks in the Cayman Islands - or follow the Russian oligarchs to Deutsche Bank in Berlin.
Perhaps the symbol that best reflects this consumer depravity is how much money is made by capitalists off the image of a dead communist: Che Guevara , the murderous Bolivian doctor who played side-kick to Fidel Castro in a revolution that only changed the old set of thugs for a new group - the same as every revolution.
Pop art has taken the commercial symbols out of context and redefined them as art. And the modern street takes Pop art, duplicates the images it created and reuses them as a design, commercial tool, that of the mass-media.
One can find Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons on posters and street signs, recycled and industrialized, downgraded into banal and common advertisement. Pop art has also turned the banal into art, yet the street takes art and returns it into the banal.
When the photographer separates the street from the spectator by means of the camera,
he continues the perpetual oscillation of art-industry- art. The industry, which has been redefined by Pop art as art, and has returned to the street to serve Capitalism, is redefined as art.
The street photographer invites the spectator to also take part in this endless conversion. The irony depicted in the chaining of quotations brings into awareness the whole system of popular culture industry.
Gabi Ben Avraham is an Israeli Photographer (58), lives in a quiet neighborhood of Tel Aviv, the city which he grew up in, has never left and is part of him and his hobby – photography. He works in a software company as IT manager.
Human figures are assimilated in this visual abundance. Their clothes are printed using the same images; sometimes they are tattooed right on their skins. Man loses his individuality for a set of symbols flooding the reality in which he acts, thus becoming another product controlled by economic firms that thrive thanks to him.
Pop-art has taken the commercial representations out of their context and redefined them as art. The modern street takes Pop-art, duplicates the images it created and reuses them as a design, commercial tool, that of the mass-media. One can find Andy Warholl and Jeff Koons on posters and street signs, recycled and industrialized, downgraded into banal and common advertisement, stand or ad. Pop-art has turned the banal into art, but the street takes art and returns it into the banal.
When the photographer separates the street from the spectator by means of returned to the street to serve Capitalism, I the camera frame, he continues, ironically speaking, the perpetual oscillation art - industry - art. The industry, which has been redefined by Pop-art as art, and has s redefined as art.
The photographer invites the spectator to also take part in this endless conversion concept. The irony depicted in the chaining of quotations brings into awareness the whole system of popular culture industry.
Process Description: “The Street is not a Studio”
I am an Israeli-born street photographer presently living in Tel Aviv. After flirting with an initial fascination with photography and film cameras in the 1980's, I went on to pursue a career as an IT manager and put my love for the still image aside.
Fortunately, my interest never disappeared: while the passion lay dormant for decades, all it took was the gift of a camera from my wife to awaken my inclination towards photography again.
The Street is not a Studio. Sometimes I stand and wait for things to converge – a cyclist, a dancer, a child – moving along. Street Photography/Documentary is my favorite way of looking at the world.
My camera has become an integral part of me and I cannot imagine myself without it. Everywhere I go I take it with me thinking ‘maybe today will be my lucky day and I will take the photo of my life’. Via the camera lens I am constantly looking around me, searching for that ‘decisive’ moment that will never return, unless I catch it. When pushing the button, I try to make some sense, restore order to the chaotic scheme of things in the composition, tell the story behind the scene and frame a surrealistic moment. The components 'speak' with each other in a special dialogue, either by color (I prefer B&W, I add color only when it is meaningful), shape, or light. Capturing the elusive, special moment after which things will never be the same and making it eternal – that is my goal.
Forgotten, transparent people in urban surroundings are being granted their moment of grace. The shadows, fragile outlines, reflections within daily lives that are not noticed in the busy and thick urban landscape and sometimes are even crushed by it – these are precious to me. Those expressions and compositions are to be treasured before they are lost in time.
Reality is a sequence of never-ending scenes. The camera is an instrument to freeze the moment, isolate it and take it out of context. Alternative reality is the moment existing in the mind of its creator.
At a single click, the photographer tries to fill the insignificance around him with significance. The components "speak" with each other in a unique dialogue made of composition, color, light, shadow and shape.
The photographer creates a private and intimate hallucination and shares it with the viewer. The moment made eternal by the act of shooting is 'the decisive moment', a junction of reality and fiction, real and surreal. The photographer links the possible with the impossible and even though the moment fades, it is burnt in the memory of the viewer.
I shoot independently for a few years and teach in Street Photography workshops.
I am a member of "Thestreetcollective", http://www.thestreetcollective.com/ which was founded in 2013, and have since been documenting the occurrences of the streets from a personal perspective. The Collective’s aim is not only to encourage street photography in general, but to offer up and coming street photographers the opportunity to share projects with a larger audience.
Gabi Ben Avraham