Rachel Papo was born in 1970 in Columbus, Ohio and was raised in Israel. She began photographing as a teenager and attended a renowned fine-arts high-school in Haifa, Israel. At age eighteen she served in the Israeli Air Force as a photographer. She earned a BFA in Fine Arts from Ohio State University (1991-96), and an MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City (2002-05).
Rachel's photographs are included in numerous public and private collections, and have been exhibited and published worldwide. She currently lives in Woodstock, New York, working on personal projects, as well as accepting commissioned projects. Rachel is represented by ClampArt Gallery in New York City, and her first book, Serial No. 3817131, was published by powerHouse Books in 2008. She has been selected a finalist for the "Santa Fe Prize for Photography", and has been awarded a NYFA Fellowship in 2006. In 2009 Rachel has won a Lucie Award for "Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year".
In a photo-essay from the renowned Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, Rachel Papo documents how, from the age of ten until eighteen, twelve hours a day, six days a week, young ballet students live lives of fierce competition.
At an age when social, sexual, and educational explorations are at their highest point, the life of an eighteen-year-old Israeli girl is interrupted to serve in an army involved in daily conflict and war.was inducted into the Israeli Army when she turned 18. Fifteen years later, armed only with her camera, she decided to go back to see if it was as bad as she remembered.