Award-winning documentary photographer Amir Lavon “on my way home” has been a journey that has taken him from a low-income housing project in Afula city, Israel, to Lens magazine and to membership in the elite international photojournalists’ collective, ssp photography. Amir quest to understand “what it means to be a human being” has given him an extraordinary empathy with the people he photographs.
On my way home presents the first career retrospective of Amir’s work. Consisting of over 100 images that span the full range of his subjects and his evolution as a photographer, the photographs are a visual summation of the human condition. They include examples of Amir’s early work; a broad selection of images of people from Afula city to Tel Aviv that constitutes a brilliant collective portrait of the social, cultural, and economic experiences of Israelis in our time; images of life and conflict.
As long as we keep moving, we keep pushing ourselves.
“I just kept working at things to try to understand where I was coming from,” he said. “If you don’t try, nothing will happen. This world is so temporary; it would be nice that when we leave it, we leave something of substance behind. I’m not a pacifist or a Pollyanna. I just know there is a better way of doing things.”
Learning and Growth
The black and white images are taken from my book of the same name and capture life in its jpg form, with all its emotions, from fear and joy to sadness and anger.
The images explore a theme: what does it mean to be a human being? It is a subject I explored throughout my career and the topic continues to motivate me.
I believe photo books are a great opportunity for people to learn.
I think they are very encouraging.
Growth is a strong theme in my work, which flits from my love of teaching to the impact of my first mentor and on to the greatest challenge of my outstanding photography career – overcoming racism.
“On my home” its power. Considering the places Amir’s has been, there are very few photos of pain. Instead, Amir focuses on the varied human responses to hardship.
“People all have a human side to them.”
My Photographs are a visual summation of the people on opposite ends of the social scale, along with my quest to understand the human condition.
I Captures images of people living in extreme poverty, affluence, and the spaces in between.
During a set of thought provoking portraits shot in Afula city, the social, political and cultural implications of life in Israeli ghettos evoke a real emotive response.
The streets of everywhere
The story of the streets of everywhere is about the life of the simple man, in every place, every country and in every corner.
It’s the story of the simple people in simple situations; most of them live in a simple town and have a simple life.
They wake up every morning doing their best to pass another day in the streets of everywhere.
Most of them are just shadows looking for identity, looking for life in a dying world, where you photo ’cause you can’t see the people without an identity.
It’s the story of the simple man looking for love in a world of money and cash walking down the streets to the place I call everywhere.
I live my life on the streets looking at them with my lens, searching for the meaning of the life of the simple man, doing what I can that’s why I frame .
I don’t know where you may be, I frame cause I want to give u an identity.
When I set out on the streets of Israel with a camera in 2005, I had no idea I would eventually publish a book of street photography. I was simply taking photographs. Then, gradually, I started making photographs, as opposed to “taking” them. More time passed and my signature style started to emerge.
This whole body of work was produced with a lx100 camera. It’s a fantastic little camera with lightning fast capabilities – a feature that would become crucial to this work. The lx is very discreet, which is great when it comes to shooting on the streets. The LCD screen turns off there is no shutter noise, the auto focus system is a hybrid that allows focus with a full-press of the shutter – equaling zero shutter lag. For those of you who are not into photography, this little digital camera allows you to be a ninja and capture the fastest moving subjects with ease. I couldn’t have produced this body of work with any other camera – period.
I have an edgy personality. I’m a nervous person. I’m not the kind of photographer that would naturally produce contemplative nature scenes or very thought out portraits and so on. That’s not me. This work is very much me. The off-kilter framing, rushed timing, gritty high-contrast scenes are a good representation of me as a persona and as a photographer. But these photographs also represent Israel well too. Israel is an edgy and nervous place also. There is no sense of calm on the streets of Israel, believe me.
Over time I settled into a photographic routine. I become both confident and comfortable with my camera, my style, and my subject matter. I felt that I was not only making photographs that were interesting and personal, but photos that were unique and different also.
I especially looked at my contemporaries. I wanted to know what others were making at that exact moment, because I didn’t want to make similar photographs. I wanted to be different. I wanted to break free from the sameness that was running rampant in street photography.
In the end, I think I was reasonably successful. I think I did break free from the mold. Am I the first person to produce fragmented photographs? No. But together with the location and the grit and grain and the small sensor feel and so on, I think it combines to make rather unique photography.
My goal was not to produce a book that would be loved by all, it was to produce a book that would add something new to the conversation, something different to the mix. When William Klein produced his early work of New York, no one would even publish it. Editors called it crap. Perhaps time will be the final ingredient needed for my work to truly appreciate.