This curatorial concept is for three photographers working with very different subjects, but that in some ways have similarities. Tom White and Efraim Moskovics have a strong filiation or affiliation with the subjects and worlds in which they are working within. This allows them to have a uniquely intimate perspective on a milieu that is often out of sight for most of us. Yet there is the outsiders perspective, from being a photographer, but also because of their subject position in relation those they photograph.
Efraim, from a Hasidic background is trapped between two worlds as his beliefs and orientation often differs from those he has to interact with everyday. Bringing out historical aspects of faith with modernism, he draws attention to processes and abstraction. His work is self-conscious and challenges, as Adorno has characterised, conventional surface coherence and appearance of harmony.
Tom, having trained in the fine arts and painting has crafted his technique, so that the eye goes back and forth between the different aspects of composition, colour, light and shade. He awakens our senses in such a way that we can experience the subjective phenomenon of “being there”, a kind of immediacy, yet still an outsider.
Olivia similarly offers us a private view, the people she is photographing are disarmed, relaxed, humorous aware of their limitations imposed upon them, yet, letting their human spirit come through, so that we are instantly transported to our own kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms, bedrooms. It is this private and removed, yet intimate and familiar that unites these three photographers.
I envisage Efraim`s photographs in large prints. Here seemingly everyday rituals and objects are seen in a new way. Is the man davening (praying) or hiding behind his prayer scarf? The juxtaposition reveals ambiguity and the precarious balance and witty allusion to both. It is is not to make these subjects superficial or to ridicule, quite the opposite it is, like Magritte, to convey poetic imagery. They evoke mystery and you may ask when you see these pictures, “What does this mean”? but like mystery itself you may have to keep asking this question because these photographs infer to the unknowable.
For these photographs they would be smaller that would form a collage of anonymity and in a mass of celebration, that religion so often brings us to, away from a sense of individuality. To become human is to become individual, Clifford Geertz once expounded (1973:52) Yet the crucial individual distinction and diversity disappear as individuals are de-centered from analysis, dissolved into various systems of convention which are said to be operating through them, constituting their beings. In short individuals become collective constructs. Efraim`s photography reveals this and so the positioning of his photography would in the one instance allow for detailed, up-close viewing, and then on the other, a mass of photographs depicting rituals where the viewers, like their subjects could feel dizzy and in the anonymity. The photographs could also be positioned in a round spheric frame, like a large and thick tube in which viewers can step inside to experience walking round feeling the dizzying effect.
Tom`s photographs have a humanising effect on the workers in which he is depicting. There is a sense that their work is their craft and you are allowed into the studio, whether that be a street, a kitchen or a living room of a hard-working Korean family.
The lack of individuality that late capitalism allows people, Tom`s photographs seem to be giving it back to them. They are no longer devoured by the system, they are honored, but not in a glorifying way, but more as if in a manner that is curiously looking into their world, without disrupting it too much, but patiently observing as their self-hood as it emerges from universes of discourse reflecting social positions (Berger 1970: 375).
They are emerging determined, upright and dignified through their own individuality, yet still working toward the collective. Workers spaces would be alluded to by their tools being a part of the exhibition allowing you to enter into their “studio” and experience their masterpieces or ready-mades for your desirable, consumable pleasure, indexing your position in a late capitalist society.