An interview with Ron Shoshani, photographer from Israel who became popular by photographing the cityscape of Tel Aviv. „Zeit Online“ published an article about him two weeks ago (link below).
Shalom Ron. Yesterday I asked a friend what he knows about Tel Aviv. He knew nothing. I asked what he thinks when hearing “Tel Aviv”. Several times he started to speak but didn’t find any words. I asked why it was so hard for him to answer. He told: ‘I think of war, Jerusalem, Palestinians, desert. But I know all this has nothing to do with Tel Aviv.’ Ron, tell us about Tel Aviv.
Ron: Tel Aviv is a modern city, sometimes comparable to cities like Berlin, London, Barcelona or even New York. It has a mix of old and new architecture, small houses and skyscrapers; it has a wonderful beach, a vivid nightlife scene, fashion stores and a large variety of restaurants. All in all, it feels like some other European cities although the weather is a bit hotter, maybe like Madrid in Spain or Rome in Italy.
You say you want to give the people an opportunity to see Tel Aviv, without any words. For many artists it’s all about telling their own version. Why do you want to remain objective?
Ron: I don’t have a version of what is Tel-Aviv. Not at all. I cannot judge it. What people think about a city is a summary of who they have met, services that they needed and things they have experienced. Everyone experience the city differently. Some love the beach, others like the nightlife; others don’t like the traffic jam or the lack of manners. There cannot be an absolute judgment about a city. Some people would experience Berlin as a boring city while others think it’s the most amazing city on earth. My photos are reflections of the city. It is a frame that everyone can fill with its own stories and experiences.
What is the thrill of photographing cities? And where is the special attraction of photographing Tel Aviv?
Ron: Photographing a city is a complex challenge: finding different locations and good spots, understanding how the sunlight falls on the buildings during the different hours much more. Tel Aviv is a bit more challenging to photograph because the sunlight in Israel is very strong and yellow. Unlike other European cities, in Tel Aviv there is no soft light during daylight. It means that there are very small timeframes in which you can take perfect shots of the cityscapes. Overcoming the weather challenges is not easy.
To me Tel Aviv seemed like an antipole to Jerusalem. The residents of Tel Aviv clearly want to distance themselves from the capital. Instead of tradition and religion they choose nightlife and lifestyle. Would Tel Aviv be so extremely modern without Jerusalem?
Ron: Its’ not a black and white issue. There is a fantastic nightlife scene at Jerusalem as well; there is a great hi tech scene, shopping malls and more. Jerusalem has its own character and its multi religious. Tel Aviv has many sides as well, and yes, many young Tel Avivis find it very important to be up to date, but there are other groups in the city which are conservative and totally mainstream.
You’ve mentioned that Jerusalem is your next project. There it’s easy to find a nice hill but is it possible to reproduce Jerusalem on a picture?
Ron: Jerusalem, because of its complexity, is not easy to photograph, and it would be a much more challenging to reflect the city in photos relatively to Tel Aviv. I’m still working on the concept, and I have not resolved it yet. It’s very tough for me.
Do you also plan other projects? Photographing people, nature, war?
Ron: When I finish two more cities in Israel, I’ll probably continue with cityscapes photography in the USA.
Visit Ron Shoshani’s gallery: http://ronsho.redbubble.com/
or his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ronsho/106719759366301
Article on „Zeit Online“: http://www.zeit.de/reisen/2012-05/tel-aviv-ron-shoshani