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Yaakov Israel | The legitimacy of landscape

© Yaakov Israel

Yaakov Israel, The legitimacy of landscape; PRIVATE 47, p. 22-23 (22-25)

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The Israeli landscape seems to evoke a true sense of security in its residents: this could be the reason why large portions of it go mostly unnoticed. Israeli borders are evanescent and not always immediately discerned by its residents. While their physical position and existence is known they are rarely emotionally recognized. On the contrary, the boundaries that one cannot cross are those fully acknowledged. Escapism, as I refer to as an absence of acknowledgment of the landscape of my country, is a state of mind: the sense of comfort drawn from the lack of attention safely preserves us from the risk of being shaken off from our sense of security.

The unconscious refusal to even glance at the landscape as we pass through it drives us quickly to our final destination (our eyes fixed at the road in front of us): communities, landscapes with its burden of existences move in front of us mostly unnoticed. Is it really possible to deny their mental existence? And ultimately: do these places really exist if they are so often tucked away from people’s consciousness? I’ve started this photographic project on Arab villages, so deeply rooted in the Israeli landscape, by gathering around these thoughts.

I wanted to document, show and expose what goes unseen and mostly unrecognized as part of the Israeli landscape; I wanted to unveil the mental attitude that makes one choose to look at, or to refrain from looking at all, at what exists in front of our very own eyes. This photographic project is about the legitimacy of landscape.

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