Isaac Silman : The Way of a Photographer and the Image of a Woman.
Portraits of Irit Levin (1989, Tel Aviv) and Orthodox Nuns (2012, Jericho)
By Dorit Kedar
A human being, as every creature, will never see the face and parts of the body during their lifetime.
Face and parts of body will be seen only through a mediator such as a mirror, a work of art, a photograph, or a film.
This physical fact might have psychological effects, as we see only fragments of our physical self, and the physical is always a part of the psyche.
Thus, we probably comprehend only a part of the seen and sensed.
Physical and psychological blindness reverberates spiritually, and our gods change form and character, according to time and space, while all folks claim to own the absolute truth.
Following this thread of thoughts, it might well be that our natural blindness is itself a mediator between us, the seers, and the object of sight, the other.
Acknowledging—subconsciously or not—the fact that we cannot see our face, we do our best to appear, as we wish to appeal to the eye of the spectator, highlighting (what we believe) are our advantages while concealing (what we believe) are our disadvantages.
The spectator too participates in the game of complex communication, using the same system—highlighting or concealing characteristics or aptitudes…
Silman, a photographer of diversity, creates a series of his good friend, Irit Levin.
Every photograph shows the chosen model in different body posture, tilt of the head, facial expressions, wear of accessories, positioning of the arms and hands.
The model undergoes a meticulous staging, accentuating the individuality of the model.
Alas, the personal thoughts or feelings of the model are blocked, perhaps because of her strong will to show the pleasing physical traits on one part, and because of the accuracy of the stage managing performed by the photographer, on the other.
Nearly 25 years later, Silman photographs events of the Orthodox Celebration of The Epiphany in Jericho, eternalizing the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.
The celebration is of high significance for the believers as Christ’s Baptism symbolizes the cleansing of Adam’s First Sin and the sins of the believers.
The nuns, who wear a collective uniform of their corresponding order, blot out all remainders of individuality.
Nevertheless, the inner psychological ecstasies and profound religious emotional state are evident and expressed by the facial expression and the body language, annulling, on the occasion, all barriers between the concealed and the apparent.
The interplay between the evident and the hidden becomes a vivid stage on which sentient beings explore while being explored.
Contact: Isaac Silman