Humans of Tel Aviv: Erez Kaganovitz. Photo: Facebook

Humans of Tel Aviv. Photo: Facebook.

Israeli street photographer Erez Kaganovitz is on a one-man vision quest to share what he says is the true face of the city, and country, he loves: Tel Aviv — and Israel.

“Usually when people think about Tel Aviv or Israel, they think about a war zone, or they think about the conflict with the Palestinians or they think about an ‘apartheid state,’ — but the truth is: most people don’t have a clue about what’s going on in Tel Aviv,” Kaganovitz told The Algemeiner on Monday.

Over three years ago, he started photographing people, starting his own local Israeli brand of the wildly popular Humans of… photo collections, which began with New York, but quickly spread to cities around the globe.

His usually on-the-fly shots and even more posed photos feature unique faces, unlikely clothes, indie looks, unlikely poses, and exploit impromptu structural motifs and even props to depict a truly diverse and close-up-and-personal view of the denizens of Israel’s cultural and business center.

“On my page one can find ultra-Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Christians alongside gay, lesbians, and transsexuals; refugees from Africa who fled to Israel and are living in terrible conditions alongside the posh people of Rothschild Boulevard. You can see the fancier parts as well as the tougher parts of the city, because Tel Aviv harbors all kinds of different neighborhoods,” he said.

Humans of Tel Aviv. Photo: Erez Kaganovitz.

With a Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook page that Kaganovitz claims reach some 100,000 viewers monthly, he says he’s “got a big community of followers from Iran, from Jordan, and from Egypt” and elsewhere in the middle east, and pointed out that social networking is gaining him more viewers in once-remote — and hostile — areas.

“I get a lot of response from the Arab world telling me, ‘you know — I thought Tel Aviv was like planet Mars,’” he noted. But, ironically, after travels abroad with his exhibition, including visits to the US, India and European Union countries, he noted experiencing more than a little hostility from viewers in the real, and not virtual, world.

“When people hear I’m from Israel, you know — they start moving uncomfortably in their seats,” he recalled.

“’Ahh, you’re from that place where there’s war and that occupation situation,’” he said, paraphrasing some comments he’s received. “Nobody knows the true face of the Israelis!” Kaganovitz added, with mild exasperation, but then laid out his goal:

Humans of Tel Aviv. Photo: Erez Kaganovitz.

“The idea is to show that we have a vibrant, civil society, and that we have not only soldiers, but poets, liberals, free spirits, amazing culture, and an amazing melting pot,” he says.

When asked, however, if his vision could be construed by critics of the Jewish state as glossing over Israel’s faults, he is adamant.

“I’m showing everything,” he asserted. “I show hipsters, the gay community, Eritrean and Sudanese immigrants that are coming to Israel and showing their stories,” among other sides to the …read more

Source:: The Algemeiner


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