OUR HOME, SHIKUN ELLA
Once a week, we used to travel to Alexander Zaid’s Hills, a walking distance from our home. By foot, or on the back of a donkey, we climbed - as the view of the Jezreel Valley spread before our eyes. The best time was just before the sun disappeared behind the Carmel mountain, as the last rays of light painted the fields in golden tones. We sat there for hours, 20 kilometers from Nazareth, and a short ride distance from the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by green spiky sabras. We played music, drank Turkish coffee, watched the wind blow clouds away, and stars revealing the night sky while breathing the sweet air of our childhood landscape.
Photographed over eight years, this is a documentary project about a place that has provided the backdrop for my youth, about a rural neighborhood in Kiryat Tivon in northern Israel. Established in the ‘50s by fifteen families who left the Kibbutz Movement, my family moved to the neighborhood when I was twelve. Ever since, I carried my camera everywhere, taking photos of my family’s daily life. Over the years, the photographs started to reveal the dynamics of individuals with each other, and with the environment around us. They started to reveal what would become my lifetime project.
I remember the path I took to school which led me through the valley and under the great oaks, where I fell in love and searched for silence. Over the years, I bore witness to time as people got older, trees gave way to saplings and my friends moved on from toys to beers. The photographed landscape is my first association with home, family, and love, but it also represents a different way of life, which endures and still exists. It is not a project about the political conflict, Jerusalem or Gaza, but an insight into a different version of Israel, about what happens outside the mainstream media’s bubble.