By Tom Sebastiano
For this our 200th article, we are featuring the work of Jerusalem-based photographer Gabriela Gleizer. We talk with Gabriela about her ongoing project documenting the multi-faceted and diverse society that is Jerusalem. Enjoy…
Gabriela firstly a bit about you?
I am 27 years old and right now I live in Jerusalem. I’m currently studying for a BFA Degree at Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design.
What first sparked your interest in photography?
It was a total coincidence; when I was 15 I was living in Montevideo, Uruguay with my parents because of their jobs. I was studying Architectural Studies and History of Art in high school and I started noticing details and styles which I hadn’t observed before. There were very many beautiful houses and mansions in an old Spanish style in the neighbourhood where I was living, and I wanted to photograph them to have memories after I returned to Israel. So I started walking in the streets with my father’s camera documenting the houses, little by little I was noticing movements, perspective, the influence of the light and more. It didn’t take long before the camera had become an inseparable object to me.
How do you approach shooting strangers in a busy city like Jerusalem, what attracts you to certain characters and people?
Mostly their physical appearance and their body language and how they are connected to the place in which I am photographing them.
To what degree do you engage with your subjects, how important or necessary do you feel it is to talk before you shoot?
Usually, as I commit to my target, I feel very focused on what I have in mind but sometimes it is very helpful to have a little chat with the person I’m photographing, as some new ideas or perspectives can come to mind.
Your work has a strong sense of locality to it, it’s as if you work in an area very well known to you. For example I see that many of your portraits have been shot at tram stops, can you tell me a bit about this choice of location for you?
This project is about a journey which aims to explore and analyse the different cultures and religions which people belong to and try to understand the complexity and diversity of society in Jerusalem. The idea of choosing this trajectory had seemed to me very appropriate as it is one of the most popular transportation methods in the city and one of the city’s symbols.
Who are your photographic influences?
Mostly documentary and portraiture photographers like Rineke Dijkstra, Alec Soth, Michal Chelbin, Rob Hornstra – but also photographers with a bit of humour and sarcasm in their works like Martin Parr.
When you have completed your degree at Bezalel what are your plans?
Probably continue to study for a MFA Degree and meanwhile start working in photography, as I feel I have a lot more to learn and discover.
See more of Gabriela’s work at:
All images copyright Gabriela Gleizer.