Beyond God City
If you took away everything they owned from people’s hands -- their social statuses, ethnic identities, political identities, beliefs, etc. what would remain? Only their human sides: their ambitions, their hobbies, and their love.
I have traveled across many high-risk areas of the world, laden with wars, confusion and chaos. Across all these lands, I noticed two things: first, the expressions across the faces of the people at the moment of incidents, and second, how, despite all the war, confusion and chaos, people managed to easily continue living their lives when there wasn’t any incident going on. Lovers still met at cafes, a man or woman still rushed to work in the morning, children still played on the streets – as if a bomb didn’t go off an hour ago, as if so many dead and wounded didn’t line the streets.
I first went to Israel in February 2014. Throughout my professional life, I have covered many painful subjects through photos and film. I had also gone to Israel for a project at the request of my publisher.
I shot the stories of people who migrated to Israel from Turkey. The reasons for their moves were the events they had lived through in Turkey. Before going to Israel, quite a few people cautioned me, even my Jewish friends, saying I would be scrutinized, questioned, etc. but I was pleasantly surprised at passport control when I made it to Tel Aviv, because they welcomed me and asked no questions.
I stayed 12 days in Tel Aviv and filmed about 20 people. I bore witness to some truly sad stories.
What I usually do when I first visit a city is to constantly walk and find places I can have breakfast and
a meal. In Tel Aviv, I walked to most places. I really liked a restaurant called Mantaray on the shore so I began to go there every day. Though it was the end of February, the weather was sunny and really warm. The shore had a constant flow of people from morning to night: early morning joggers, surfers, swimmers, those out for a walk, lovers, families, soldiers...The approximately nine-mile long shore
was never empty until nightfall.
Then I started taking photographs along the shore. It was the same as it would be across most parts of the world. A rocket could fall or a bomb could go off at any minute. Yet even with that awareness, people led such mundane lives. I was impressed. Then I went to Tel Aviv again. I then shot this series of photographs. To strip people of their identities, of their spaces, I used the over pose technique.
This place is no different than anywhere else in the world. Then again, the human factor is no different anywhere either.