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Gabi Ben Avraham

Street Portfolio – Gabi Ben Avraham
Israel    www.gabibest.com

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.

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 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 returned to the street to serve Capitalism, is 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.

Those who visit Cuba experience a strong feeling of travelling in time, of people living in a bubble disconnected from the Western world as we know it. Far from abundance and comfort, distant from the mighty communication industry and the consuming culture, they live the human side of life as opposed to the industrial and mechanical side. Communication is face to face, people are outside, in the street most of the time, there are very poor resources, everything crumbles, severe poverty. This is their world, and they live it to the full. Nonetheless, they seem strong and maintain their joie de vivre.

My name is Gabi (Gavriel) Ben-Avraham. I am 55 years old, and married with three children aged 24, 26 and 19. I work in a software company and live in a quiet neighborhood of Tel Aviv, the city which I grew up in, have never left and is a part of me and my hobby – photography. I enjoy cinema and music, and during the 1980’s photographed using film cameras. I then did not touch a camera for 20 years until I received a digital camera as a gift for my birthday from my wife 2 years ago. The rest is history….

Process Description: “The Street is not a Studio”.
Sometimes I stand and wait for things to converge – a cyclist, a dancer, a child – moving along. They are not aware that they are moving towards a certain object, but I am. Street Photography 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. The components ‘speak’ with each other in a special dialogue, either by color, 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, compositions – flickering like dim lights on the horizon – I treasure these before they are lost in time. I enjoy looking at other photographers’ works and am inspired by websites such as IN-public and Magnum.