G-A-Y | Blurb - KDP &
BLURB | Cuba, Love Stories
I first published in 2012
KDP | Cuba, Love Stories
CUBA, Love Story! (1993-2012)
'The confusing and bewildering paradox of the masculine and militarist blended with the homoerotic in Cuba evoked my own experiences and memories of growing up in young, macho and militarist Israel (Cuba).
It is an autobiographical journey to Cuba which ignites personal memories and reflections from my own youth. It explores and documents homo-erotic experiences which reflects on personal homo-social childhood memories, and I keep walking on the thin line between homo-erotic and homo-social. The approach is that of a “participant observer” (using a term associated with anthropological research) – I am both an “insider” and an “outsider” at the same time, experiencing, and documenting simultaneously.
The photos were captures during five long journeys to Cuba I made in the last 15 years, in which I ventured into the depth of the island, including its remote rural provinces, blended in with locals, lived in their houses, gained their confidence and made them “open their hearts” to me and to my camera.
Videos (3:33mins each)
- The Hunting >>>
- Masculine Gestures - In Progress >>>
The eBook | Compressed (11M)
Intimate Strangers (2002-2005) >>>
The experience of being a foreigner in a city full of immigrants (Soho, London, UK).
The thin line between homo-social and homo-erotic in army life (Israel).
THIS BOOK IS A JOURNEY into my inner world of memories, conflicts and trapped emotions. In my compositions presented here I try to recreate and reinvent fragments in my own life and psyche as a young Israeli, growing up in a "macho" society where feelings towards other men are often "brotherly ", physical and warm but seldom cross the dangerous line between a brotherly hug and a hug of love and desire.
This dilemma is particularly strong in the military life where the saying in Hebrew "Ani Ohev Otcha Achi" ("I love you my brother") is a normal way of greeting.
All young Israelis at the age of 18 have to join the army for three years. From your first day in the army your teenager personality is subdued by your commanders and you become part of a collective existence full of strong contradicting feelings: fears, joys, hopes, emotional and physical strain, bondage and freedom (from home and your parents), horror and beauty, sadness and happiness and ... an over activity of all kinds of hormones. You change overnight from a child to a man - a man that has the right (and the duty sometimes) to love and hate, live and die, make love and kill …
The thin line between homo-social and homo-erotic in army life can be so confusing and torturous for a gay soldier. Soldiers hug and kiss each other, say "I love you brother" to each other, sleep together - sometimes lean on each others' chests, sometimes share a tiny mattress, have communal showers where they play "boy games" like throwing water and soap on each other, sometimes share a hot shower, sometimes masturbate together.
In 1988 when I was 18, I joined the army. In a series of photos in this book I have tried to recreate the feeling of loneliness that I suddenly felt, torn by confusing emotions of "brotherly" love and sexual attraction to my fellow soldiers, by fear mixed with beauty and fantasy.
Soldiers look manly, confident and beautiful. So are the soldiers in my photos. But look at their eyes … they reveal the real feelings. A body full of beauty, masculinity and youth, when erupting with sexuality, can be misleading - the eyes tell the full story - there is a deep loneliness, a hidden forbidden passion, fear and confusion in these eyes. Can you see it?
The eyes of another lonely soldier in my army camp led me to freedom, to the discovery that I am not alone.
Following the army experience and "discovering myself", the fear and confusion still continued: fear from the first encounter with a man (answering an ad in the paper); fear of a passionate long night coming to an end; the conflict of having a relationship and living as a couple; the "emptiness" of waking up together after a night of extreme passion; the fantasy of casual encounters on the beach; the search for the hidden truth; the fragility behind the strength; the timeliness of beauty; the sadness of beauty, the endless fear behind the beauty - these are all internal conflicts that I tried to recreate in a series of photos. In some cases I even went back to the original location of my own experience and shot the photos there.
Some of the photos in this book are "stage directed" and some are "real life" snapshots. The "stage directed" ones belong to a previous period of my life, where any kind of affection between men was a mere fantasy, a dream, an "ideal". The result was some "dream like" photos, like the ones of three guys on the beach. Later on I discovered "real life" in my own life and as a result I switched to "real life snapshot" photography - searching for the "divine" in those day-to-day scenes (like the shower scene), the "divine" that is hidden in all of us and in those that surround us. This is my new direction.
I hope you enjoy this journey and find your inner self somewhere amongst these photos. Let me know if you did …