The ActiveStills collective was established in 2005 by a group of Israeli and international documentary photographers, out of a strong conviction that photography is a vehicle for social and political change. We believe in the power of images to shape public attitudes and to raise awareness on issues that are generally absent from public discourse. We view ourselves as part of the struggle against all forms of oppression, racism, and violations of the basic right to freedom. We work on various topics in Israel and Palestine including; the Palestinian popular struggle against the Israeli occupation, women’s rights, immigration, asylum-seekers, social justice struggles, the siege on Gaza, housing rights, animal rights and more.

We believe that art should be available to the wider public and not experienced only by specific segments of society. We wish to expose as many people to our images and the topics that we believe to be of public interest. That is why we started using street exhibitions as an ongoing method for the display of our images. ActiveStills’ first collective action in 2005 was centered around a street exhibition. It was the beginning of the demonstrations against the Israeli Separation wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in, and we sought new ways to spread the images to an Israeli audience. Mainstream media showed almost no interest in the protests, and independent media was still a newcomer on the scene. Instead of knocking on closed doors we decided to exhibit on the street.

Well before the social media and the smartphone era, ActiveStills were pioneers in using photographic public street exhibitions in Israel and Palestine as a way to bypass mainstream media and share visual and textual information. We found this practice to be an effective method, reaching different audiences in the most direct way and on various locations.
Unexpectedly, this practice still remains effective today. Although our images are now used regularly by mainstream and alternative media, we still see how reclaiming public space is even more important now than a decade ago. Each time our photos are published, either in the mainstream media or in alternative channels, they convey messages that challenge oppression and bring the voices of the unheard into public discourse.

—ActiveStills


Editor's Note: To find out more information about this admirable collective, be sure to
visit their website.