More than 30,000 Hasidic Jews live in Stamford Hill, a neighbourhood in North East London. During Purim festival, the community celebrates the saving of the Jewish people from Haman. As the tradition has it, children dress up in phenomenal costumes and parade in the streets as Rubik’s Cubes, princesses, Virgin Atlantic stewardesses and popcorn boxes.
We had one summer to discover America.
It began in an idyllic suburb in Orange County. We were surrounded by manicured lawns and strip malls. We were trapped in a maze of winding estates. Everything was immaculate. Sterile. It felt like purgatory.
Our existence in this place was nothing short of an intrusion. While our neighbours drove their SUVs to the beach and had garden parties, we were stuck in our unfurnished apartment, eating food off of a bed box we found on the street.
Gradually, the more we were worn down by the staleness of our surroundings, the more our presence there took on a sense of purpose. On a subconscious level we came to find pleasure in subverting the neatness that this neighbourhood had tried so hard to establish. Our poverty, our filth, and our bare feet all became badges of honour that we displayed proudly in the face of the surrounding white-washed banality.
We had to get out. Suburbia had worn us down to such a point that we were ready to do almost anything for the sake of a brief respite from the boredom. And so we embarked on what became our own perverted take on the classic American road-trip.
Where we saw seriousness we met it with absurdity, in the presence of order we sought out mischief, when we found the American Dream we tried to swindle it out of beer money.
We are used to the media representing females in such a way, we feel we have to follow the high standards that are presented to us. I am interested in creating work that questions what it feels like to be a young female in the digital age that we live in. I aim to challenge and highlight the notions of femininity and explore the ideologies that can define being a girl.
I believe girls should have confidence in exactly who they are. Girls can wear however much pink they want, they can go out in the smallest, sexiest clothes and party and they can wear as much make up or fake tan to make them feel good and smile for photos. Girls can also wear no make up and have days with hairy legs and have wardrobes and drawers of rubbish clothes and tack that they can't bare to throw away no matter how cringe worthy!
I want my work to be seen as a celebration of being British female without a care in the world!
The Garden started when I moved from London to Kent in June. For the last three years I have been studying Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. Living and working in London as a freelance press photographer, I experienced a culture shock when I moved back to Whitstable, a small seaside town I grew up in on the Kent Coast. I don't think I ever particularly felt at home here and being away so long made me feel even more detached.
I have always used photography as a way to explore the world. As a press photographer I was covering newsworthy events, such as protests, but I found this never really caught my imagination, what really interests me is everyday life. You can find amazing moments in the most mundane situations if you learn to observe.
The Garden was born out of the desire for me to try and understand where I had come from. Whitstable seemed so monotonous when I was growing up that I barely wanted to photograph it. As soon as I returned I saw it in a whole new light and wanted to understand it as much as I could. To me, it could be considered a quintessentially 'English' place. Many of its towns have seen their heyday in the past with the rise and fall of tourism in Britain, so they seem in an awkward purgatory between the past and the present. The idea of society has always interested me greatly and I often face my lens to the most traditional places of English social customs such as the pub or the beach. Places such as this hold a timeless tradition for the English and are a place where people truly show their eccentricities and I love that you can gain an insight into their lives only using a camera.
I interact very little, if at all with my subjects, which goes against my normal method of working. If I am honest I don't want to interact with them at all, as I don’t want this to influence them in any way. In my head, I create narratives for these people and they become someone completely different entirely. I feel if I do get to know them in some way this will change the way I photograph them. To me, they are everyday people just living their lives and this is the most interesting entity of all. I don't know the subjects in my photographs, I probably never will know them, but when I print their images to me they become more than just a stranger I photographed.
To me, it's a collaboration.
Katamonim is a Jewish neighbourhood in southwest Jerusalem, consisting of eight sub-neighborhoods and a population of 23,800.
The name “Katamon” is derived from the Greek κατὰ τῷ μοναστηρίῳ ("by the monastery"), but other versions say that the word came from the arabic word “Katma”, which means breaking - a hint of quarries in the area in which stones were broken and thrown into the buildings.
After the war of independence (1948) the arabs abandoned the area and new housing units began to be built for jewish immigrants, especially from North Africa, who arrived during the early years of the State of Israel (50’s).
In the neighborhood, two-floor buildings were built, and were publicly owned by public housing companies.
Till today, a large number of apartments are still owned by the housing companies, and they serve mostly a weak social-economic population, including many immigrants from Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union.
In this four-month project, I wandered through the streets of the neighborhood while investigating the social and urban character of the neighborhood, through different days and hours.
I find interest in this neighborhood and in its history, residents who sometimes belong to disadvantaged populations or immigrants who find it difficult to be integrated in the local population.
Originating in Brazil, Vale Tudo is a mode of combat that permits any technique of martial arts or contact sports. Formerly fighters didn't wear mitts and the only rules were to not bite or put fingers into the eyes of your opponent. Now, in Europe, different kinds of sport-entertainment are lead by MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), who organize official and regulated events.
In 1928 an article in Time Magazine reported on a wrestling match held in Sao Paulo, in which a ‘giant, black Bahian’ and ‘small Japanese dwarf’ fought. The fight proved how size is not necessarily determinative. This kind of fight won by TKO or abandonment remains popular across the world. These shows, especially popular in circus attractions until 1960, when Joao Alberto Barreto broke the arm of his opponent who refused to surrender, happened during the televised show, ‘Heroes Of The Ring’, the bloody spectacle caused the immediate cancellation of the program and Vale Tudo was relegated to a subculture, with fighting in small gyms or public places, always on the verge of illegality.
In 1993 an American company organized the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) under the slogan ‘anything goes’. The boxing ring was changed to an octagonal cage with an open roof, which has been become popularized as a symbol of the organization.
Currently MMA has major leagues around the world, and includes a more extensive regulation, in order to prevent serious or permanent injuries to the fighters. It allows the use of punches, kicks, holds and techniques from a variety of disciplines, including Karate, Boxing, Taekwondo, Muay thai, Judo, Greco-Roman Wrestling, Jiu Jitsu or Capoeira, amongst others. The roots of modern mixed martial arts come from the ancient Olympics, where one of the oldest documented systems of combat was the pankration. Its origin as such is diffuse, based on various competitions held in Europe, Japan and the United States during the early twentieth century. In Europe it’s popular in England, Netherlands, France or Spain.
“I've been following Brazilian fighters who have come to Europe as ambassadors of this extreme sport. I traveled with them to various cities attending official events and parties. This tense and euphoric atmosphere breathes great respect, typical of those who will fight without truce or mercy. The cage is closed, the bell rings and two men will fight to the end for victory”.