INTERVIEW WITH THE ISRAELI PHOTOGRAPHER NATALIE SCHOR by Eva Defeses

Natalie Schor

Natalie Schor

E.D. You studied Art History at the University of Tel Aviv. Why did you choose Photography and when did you discover the magic of the photographic art?

N.S. I was already a student when my boyfriend, Sharon, bought me a digital camera for our fifth anniversary. I started to take my camera almost everywhere I went, catching things that seemed to me interesting enough, without directing or planning ahead. Soon, I fell in love with this occupation and began taking basic photography classes, honestly I have never imagined this would turn out to be my dream…

E.D. Your photographies are glimpses of reality. What do you take in consideration when you shoot a picture?

N.S. The technical aspect is secondary to me. Firstly, I concentrate on the topic, the original situation. I love a theme that conceals a story, while it aims at something I can relate to. Clearly I make sure there is  proper lighting, and I choose to place the object in the most interesting angle possible. The tendency is of course interesting colors that attract the eye.

E.D. You grew up in a family that values art and culture, surrounded by beautiful art objects. Do you think that this has forged in a way your path in life?

N.S. No doubt about it. I grew up in a family that loves and respects literature, music, and fine arts. My father is an art collector and my mother has a gifted talent when it comes to designing and drawing. Art books on the shelf and paintings on the walls drove me to love and curiosity. I tried my hand in several areas (guitar, poetry, and drawing) and among all these, photography suddenly became the most dominant and appealing to me.

Natalie Schor: Photography "The Old City"

Natalie Schor: Photography "The Old City"

E.D. Do you prefer working with people you know or just with complete strangers in the street?

N.S. As I mentioned, I do prefer the reality that surprises me (which means, to be somehow involved with people you do not know… snap shots etc.)

Of course I’d love to photograph people who are close to me, whom I can share my vision with. But, in general I am a very easy person to get along with and completely open to new ideas and new people.

Natalie Schor: "Orient - Occident"

Natalie Schor: "Orient - Occident"

E.D. Your photographies always have titles. Do you think the titles help the viewer understand your own feelings towards the photography?

N.S. Yes. Although I agree some photos don’t need titles. If you look at a photo called “Untitled”, you can have a personal interpretation, or… the photo simply speaks for itself. Nevertheless, just like in a painting, the artist feels the need to make a statement, to pass on a feeling, an opinion, or an idea. My perception is: a title can help you “see” better and it can equally destroy…However, I still prefer a title.

Natalie Schor: "Life as a Metaphor"

Natalie Schor: "Life as a Metaphor"

E.D. Let’s take:”Life as a Metaphor” for instance. The title gives us a clue towards the meaning of the photo. Can you offer more insight on this specific title / picture?

N.S. It’s a daily scene in a public place. The characters’ position can perhaps indicate their importance, or status in life. I saw humor but also sadness. The attitude of the characters, lost in a surreal setting… metal sky, earth made of stones, and the people trapped in between. Lighting also has an important role, and it creates a separation between the characters. Many titles ran across my mind, but  I finally chose this one, which directs you to a deeper observation, and can be understood in several ways.

E.D. Your photographies are surrounded by a melancholic air, they seem to bring together 2 separate worlds: one of innocence and childhood and the other one of bitterness of a somewhat regretful adulthood. As a young, emerging artist do you find yourself in the middle of these 2 worlds?

Natalie Schor: "Cosanzeana"

Natalie Schor: "Cosanzeana"

N.S. On the one hand I still feel sometimes as a child even though I am almost 27. I feel some of my photos come from a very naive place. On the other hand, I am very connected to the seriousness of older people, because I find it very real. There is a whole life behind them. So much experiences, pain, joy, loss. Something you can see in every wrinkle, every look, and it touches my heart in a way I can’t describe. These two extremes are supposedly not related, but they are…

E. D. “Sleeping birds” is an obvious allusion to Mihai Eminescu’s poem. Do you find inspiration in his poetry?

Natalie Schor: Photography "Sleeping Birds"

Natalie Schor: Photography "Sleeping Birds"

N.S. When I was a child, my grandmothers used to put me in bed and sing this song to me. They knew many Mihai Eminescu’s poems by heart. This is why the title came to me quite naturally. If I look at a photo I have just taken and it may suggest a name related to a poem, well, it turns out to be a very satisfying moment for me. Robert Frank (Such a wonderful photographer) said: “When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice…” if I could reach that, nothing can be more fulfilling.

E.D. “Dialogue of the deaf” is another well-chosen title, full of subtle irony. Thinking about this picture, do you believe your artwork should express something, have an objective or do you just value art for art’s sake, only for aesthetic principles?

Natalie Schor: Photography "Dialogue of the Deaf"

Natalie Schor: Photography "Dialogue of the Deaf"

N.S. This photo reflects a situation that exists in Israel. I won’t go into politics, but there is a feeling of irony and disappointment implied. I chose that name because I couldn’t think of anything else to symbolize the situation. Two completely different worlds, yet they suddenly appear before you for one moment, something you don’t see every day. My intention is to give a photo a few layers, I wouldn’t want it to be just a “nice picture” to look at. Even when I photograph still life, I try to give a sense of depth, and I wish I had always succeeded in it…

E.D. Some of your photographies seem to disclose a pictorial approach (Sleeping birds, Tribute to Magritte). Do you take interest in other art forms, like painting for instance?

Natalie Schor: Photography "Tribute to Magritte"

Natalie Schor: Photography "Tribute to Magritte"

N.S. The painting domain is no stranger to me. I do try to render my photos a rich pictorial language. In the university, I learned about different streams in art, to analyze works of art, the laws of perspective, light and shadow and composition. Somehow, I may instinctively translate this knowledge into my photos.

Natalie Schor: Photography (Eternal Eve Exhibition)

Natalie Schor: Photography (Eternal Eve Exhibition)

E.D. What are your favourite artists (not only photographers)?

N.S. So many! But here are some of the most prominent of them who receive my highest appreciation:

In painting: Renne Magritte, Joan Miro (I simply adore Surrealism) Reuven Rubin (his paintings are literally pure serenity), Baruch Elron (who was a friend of the family), and Corneliu Baba (I find his portraits excellent!).

Natalie Schor: Photography "No Longer a Saint" (Eternal Eve Exhibition)

Natalie Schor: Photography "No Longer a Saint" (Eternal Eve Exhibition)

In  photography, it is extremely difficult for me to say, since I love so many. I noticed I am mostly attracted by (how not surprising) daily street scenes, and photos in black and white. Some of my favorites are Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, Helen Levitt, Chema Madoz and Dorothea Lange. I also love photo-journalism very much!

E.D. Thank you.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/natalieschor/

Eternal Eve – Art Exhibition, Israel, celebrating Women’s Day

Eternal Eve - Art Exhibition, Tel Aviv, Israel

Eternal Eve - Art Exhibition, Tel Aviv, Israel

4-21 March:  “Eternal Eve”: International Fine Art Group Exhibition to celebrate the International Women’s Day, Jaffa -Tel Aviv Museum, Tel Aviv, Israel with the participation of artists from Israel, USA, Norway, Finland, Germany, Italy, Denmark, France, Canada, Greece, Netherlands, Austria. Curator: Zina Bercovici

Jaffa Museum, Tel Aviv, ‘Eternal Eve’ (March 2010): http://www.oldjaffa.co.il

100 YEARS’ ANNIVERSARY 1909-2009 TEL AVIV

Tel Aviv, the first modern Hebrew city, was founded on April 11, 1909. On that day, several dozen families gathered on the sand dunes on the beach outside Yafo to allocate plots of land for a new neighborhood they called Ahuzat Bayit, later known as Tel Aviv. The city expanded rapidly with massive waves of immigration in the 1920s and 30s, also bringing about a boon in Bauhaus-style architecture.

Tel Aviv’s status as the region’s most creative, liberal and tolerant city received was furthered when Yafo joined the municipality in 1949.

Throughout the decades, the city has flourished to become Israel’s business and cultural center and has developed a unique atmosphere fusing Mediterranean and urban elements.

“One hundred years later, the vision of our city’s founders – who looked at the sand dunes and saw the potential for a vibrant city – has been realized,” says Mayor Ron Huldai. “Tel Aviv-Yafo is a thriving global city that 400,000 resi-
dents are proud to call home.”

THE WHITE CITY OF TEL AVIV

In July, 2003, UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, proclaimed ” The Whi- te City”, the unique urban and historical fabric of Tel Aviv- Jaffa, a World Cultural Heritage site. By this proclamation, the world recognized the special architectural qualities of the buildings, streets, squares and avenues of Tel Aviv.

Tel Aviv

"Bruno House, Tel Aviv © Yigal Gawze" Fragments of a Style – International style Architecture in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv, the first Hebrew city in modern times, was foun- ded in 1909 and was built on the sand dunes north of the ancient port city of Jaffa. Its style was innovative, tailored to the needs of its residents, to their life styles and the climatic conditions of the region. “The White City”, the world’s largest grouping of buildings in the International Style, also known as Bauhaus, was planned by the famous Scot, Sir Patrick Geddes. About 4,000 buildings were constructed in this area, beginning in the 1930’s until the establishment of the State of The “White City” is located between Allenby Street in the south, Begin Road and Ibn Gvirol Street in the east, the Yarkon River in the north, and the Mediterranean Sea in the west.

The buildings of “The White City” were designed by Jewish architects, who had studied in Europe before their immigration to Palestine, which later became the State of Israel. This group created a new architectural language, which is rich and diverse, characterized by its asymmetry, functionality and simplicity. The balconies, building pillars, flat roofs and “thermometer” windows became the trade marks of the city.

“The White City” is the story of Tel Aviv, from its beginning to today and is a wonderful opportunity to savor the experience of life in Tel Aviv, in the past and the present.


The Herta and Paul Amir Building

TEL AVIV ART MUSEUM

The Herta and Paul Amir Building, a six-level building was designed by American architect PRESTON SCOTT COHEN known for his inventive use of light and geometric forms. This new 195,000 sq. feet building will double the exhibition space of the Tel Aviv Art Museum. The Herta and Paul Amir Building is slated for completion in 2009 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of Tel Aviv’s founding.

Established in 1932, the Tel Aviv Museum of Art has grown to become an international cultural center with an extensive series of exhibitions yearly of Israeli and international art, architecture, and design as well as permanent and loan collections spanning the major movements in international Modern art, Israeli art from the 1920s on, and a selection of 16th through 19th century art.