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The Israeli Yaakov Israel, winner of Descubrimientos PHE12

PHotoEspaña, across an international jury make up experts in photography, has awarded the Descubrimientos PHE 2012 Award (PHE12 Discoveries) to the Israeli photographer Yaakov Israel (Jerusalem, 1974) for the series The Quest for the Man on the White Donkey. The Prize will allow him to take part in PHotoEspaña 2013.
The porfolio have been presented in the review celebrated in Centro de Arte Alcobendas of Madrid during June 5th, 6th and 7th 2012.

According to the Orthodox Jewish tradition, the Messiah will arrive on a white donkey. A few years ago, as the photographer was photographing near the Dead Sea, a Palestinian man rode past him on his white donkey and he took a picture of him. It was after having developed this image that He’s realised he had encountered his Messiah. This coincidence brought Yaakov to initiate this project. The American tradition of the great photographic journeys served as a blueprint for the initial phase of his “quest” — because of the size of his country the voyage turned into a condensed experience — no matter what destination he chose, it always brought him back home by midnight at the latest. As he found himself passing through the same places over and over again, the personal identity of his project was revealed to him. He had to let go of the idea of narrating the physical journey itself and concentrate on the intimate, emotional reactions that these places evoked in him.

«The search for a deeper understanding of my country and what defines me as an Israeli became an urge to look for the inbetween places, the unexpected situations. The quest is my attempt to relay a personal take on the Israeli reality with a broader sense of belonging to the global human collectivity. In Israel I feel that the evidence of the past is strongly intertwined with the marks of the present and the questions about our future. This is why sometimes it is possible to see all the past, present and future revealed in front of one’s eyes at the same time. Part of my identity as an Israeli is to question everything, not to take anything for granted, to show the tensions that constantly exist, to convey the truth behind the construction of the reality here and now. Religious and social aspects filter into everyday life and their meanings are exposed as the journey moves on», Israel explains about his work.

Yaakov Israel lives and works in Israel. He graduated with honours in 2002 (BFA) from the Department of Photography at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. In his work, Yaakov constantly investigates the Israeli identity as perceived through architecture, landscape and people. His work has been the subject of solo and group shows in museums and galleries in Israel and internationally. Since 2004 he has been teaching photography at some of the most prominent art and photography schools in Israel. The project has just been published as a book by Schilt Publishing in Spring 2012.

The jury of Descubrimientos PHE12 have been made up Anne McNeill, director of Impressions Gallery (Bradford, United Kingdom); Markus Schaden, editor and founder of Schaden (Germany); and Roger Szmulewicz, director of the Fifty One Fine Art Photography Gallery(Belgium).

The winners of the last editions of the prize are Fernando Brito,Vanessa Winship, Alejandra Laviada, Yann Gross, Harri Palviränta, Stanislas Guigui, Vesselina Nikolaeva, Comenius Röthlisberger, Pedro Álvarez, Tanit Plana, Sophie Dubosc, Juan de la Cruz Megías, Paula Luttringer and Matías Costa.


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