Yael Orly



My final project focuses on the community of “Hebrews” of Dimona. For some time I have been capturing the people of the village with the intention to understand the complex relationship between the life of the community and organization of their personal environment. This project is from a personal interest in learning and recognize different cultures and different life forms of Israeli norm. Through my research, I got to the Community of “Hebrews” which are unique to our country.
The community is a religious group, numbering about three thousand people. Most of them are members who lives in a cooperative community in Dimona. There are also small communities in Arad, Mitzpe Ramon and Tiberias in Israel and in the United States. The group was founded in Chicago by a Baptist Christian steelworker named Ben Carter, who changed his name to Ben-Ami Ben-Israel upon his arrival in Israel in 1969. The background to their establishment was born due to solidarity felt by devout Christians African-American with the story of the Exodus of the Israelites.
My connection to the community was formed slowly during the project. This is a closed community that is not easy to get into, and now, after a while in their company I still feel a stranger which makes the act of shooting complex.
My project corresponds with the tradition of anthropological photography that its main goal is to document different cultures in a scientifically way. This practice raises numerous ethical questions visually. Nevertheless, my photography range is on the border between the stage and documentary. While I was wandered the village I recognize a particular situation but I suspends the act of documenting and immediate photography. Instead I made contact with the subjects, in order to get familiarize with them and the environment they are in. It is a need to understand the connections between them, and only then I take the picture. It is a calculated and precise act which is working on the principles of studio photography.