Michael is a self-taught Israeli photographer, working in both the commercial and fine art sector. His work catalogues his travel experiences in the US and Dublin, and his friends and family back home in Israel. We asked him a few questions to find out about his aesthetic, what pushed him into the world of photography, and what plans he has for the future.
IP: Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
MI: I was born in Russia, then the Soviet Union and raised in Israel. Besides a short stint in Dublin the last 10 years or so I live in Tel Aviv,
IP: How did you get started in photography? You mention you were self-taught, so how did you get inspired to pick up the camera?
MI: My late father was an avid amateur photographer, I remember the smell of his zenit's leather case, was always drawn to that. One of my earliest toys was a broken (german) camera from wwII my grandfather had.
IP: What do you focus on first and foremost when you are looking through the lens?
MI: Well, I have several directions, one is commercial and model oriented and one is roughly "everyday" which sometimes gets focused towards projects. Generally, I am looking for human connection and the stories that go along with it, through pictures of people or their effect on my surroundings, be it landscapes or a plate of food on a table.
IP: Do you go out to intentionally to capture images for your series, or stage the photographs, or does you stumble across these scenes in your day-to-day life?
MI: It really depends, some things I try to capture as they happen, some I try to recreate it (by yelling at people "do that again!")
IP: How did you come across your series, Fort Worth, Texas. What story do you want to tell right now about America?
MI: As someone who has been to the US as a tourist and never lived there I don't have a solid opinion on things, some stuff I connect to, some I don't. Fort Worth specifically was hugely surprising to me as it wasn't the cosmopolitan NYC or SF. It was a very local and celebrated tradition, which I had the privilege of witnessing. It was very interesting how families of immigrants tried to create this new identity as Texans as I witnessed a lot of people from South East Asia and the Indian subcontinent going to see the Rodeo with cowboy hats, together with their older (non english speaking) parents and young US born kids.
IP: In what ways is Israel reflected in your series, Territorial waters. Does the country become more than the context of these images, but a subject as well?
MI: Well, it's hard to separate, as I live here most of my life. The series does deal with being a certain age, in a certain group, having certain doubts about life. I think it deals with more universal issues.
IP: What do you think it means to be an analogue photographer in a digital age?
MI: I love the workflow, I did a completely commercial job recently, shot it all on film, it's nice to see big brands starting to trust it again. And besides, using old cameras is such a treat.
IP: What do you want your audience to take from your images?
MI: That the world is full of wonder and gentleness.
IP: What are your hopes and plans for the future?
MI: Find clients that go along with my vision and do fun commercial stuff, more international projects.