The magazine of the photo-essay
December 2018 issue
The Street is not a Studio
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Gabi Ben-Avraham
I am an Israeli photographer (58), I live in Tel Aviv and work in a software company. After flirting with an initial fascination with photography and film cameras in the 1980s, I went on to pursue a career as an IT manager and put my love for the still image aside. Fortunately, my interest never disappeared. While the passion lay dormant for decades, all it took was the gift of a camera from my wife to awaken my inclination towards photography again. The Street is not a Studio. Sometimes I stand and wait for things to converge – a cyclist, a dancer, a child – moving along. Street Photography/Documentary is my favorite way of looking at the world. My camera has become an integral part of me and I cannot imagine myself without it. Everywhere I go I take it with me thinking ‘maybe today will be my lucky day and I will take the photo of my life’. Via the camera lens I am constantly looking around me, searching for that ‘decisive’ moment that will never return, unless I catch it.  When pushing the button, I try to make some sense, restore order to the chaotic scheme of things in the composition, tell the story behind the scene and frame a surrealistic moment. The components 'speak' with each other in a special dialogue, either by color, shape, or light. Capturing the elusive, special moment after which things will never be the same and making it eternal – that is my goal. Forgotten, transparent people in urban surroundings are being granted their moment of grace. The shadows, fragile outlines, reflections within daily lives that are not noticed in the busy and thick urban landscape and sometimes are even crushed by it – these are precious to me. Those expressions and compositions are to be treasured before they are lost in time. Like a fisherman who goes to his daily work without knowing what he will catch, I take my camera and dive into the streets without knowing what will happen five minutes later. It is an adventure. When I click I try to see the surreal and to sort things out of their everyday meaning and their usual context. I have my favorite places and I never come with the same photos. It is always different: the people, the light and shadows, the atmosphere.   At a single click, I try to fill the insignificance around me with significance and  create a private and intimate hallucination in order to share it with the viewer. Even though the moment fades, it is burnt in the memory of the viewer. I shoot independently for a few years and teach in Street Photography workshops. I am a member of The Street Collective  which was founded in 2013, and have since been documenting the occurrences of the streets from a personal perspective. The Collective’s aim is not only to encourage street photography in general, but to offer up and coming street photographers the opportunity to share projects with a larger audience.
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