The information revolution shortened distances between people, enabling interactions never before possible. Yet even in these exciting times belief continues to be one of the basic, most significant and profound factors defining and shaping individuals and societies alike.
Having been raised in Israel, I was regularly exposed to strong religious, social and political beliefs and ideas from an early age. Holy sites situated throughout Israel make the (physically) small country extremely important for Jews, Christians, Muslims and followers of many other religions. The region's history combined with the volatile political situation today, result in a complex and intense reality in which people emphatically and publicly express themselves.
I am fascinated and sometimes frightened by the extreme situations people reach in the pursuit and defense of their beliefs. I explore the various sides of how people practice their beliefs, the places it brings them to and the scenes in which they take part. Regardless of specific religious or political affinities, belief can provide a sense of community, belonging, safety, and understanding, yet might also provoke hatred, separation and aggression.
Tranquility vs. anger, ecstasy vs. rage, understanding vs. fanaticism.
Using my camera as a tool for examination, I documented religious ceremonies, political events and situations of conflict throughout Israel. The photographs in this project are direct examinations of the public as a whole yet focus on individuals and their experiences as well.
The dialogue between the pictures is as important as every individual image, as each one has the potential to connect with viewers in a unique way. By displaying multiple images in this series, I aim to show the multifaceted nature of belief and the various ways it impacts the lives of individuals and communities.
Belief can often shape peoples' behavior and personal interactions but this is typically unnoticed by those who are most deeply influenced by it. This project promotes self-reflection and encourages viewers to contemplate their own beliefs, or the ideals of their communities, and the intensity with which belief affects their actions and way of life.
— Natan Dvir
Editor's note: I first discovered Natan Dvir's work at the FotoFest 2010 Biennial in Houston, Texas.