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Between 2003 and 2006, I documented Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza – focusing on the architecture of the settlements, on portraits of settlers, on walls and roadblocks, and on the relationship between these elements and the surrounding landscape.

During those years, these areas underwent a number of major political changes, chief among which was the Israeli disengagement; these events were not documented directly, yet their presence may be implicitly felt in the background. As a landscape photographer, my practice involves shooting pictures from a distance; as a result, the "problematic" presence of certain elements and my own photographic style entertain a dialogue with the pastoral beauty of the natural landscape that surrounds them. To this end, I intentionally enhanced certain characteristics of landscape photography – such as lighting, color, and attention to the horizon line. I initially photographed open landscapes, and then gradually included full-body, frontal portraits of settlers standing in the landscape and directing their gaze at the camera. The walls and roadblocks came at a later stage. The compositions are all simple and centered, and the gaze I directed at all three subjects was identical. I was not interested in documenting action, but rather in photographing elements that are simultaneously embedded in the landscape and estranged from it – suspended in an ephemeral, contingent space between creation and destruction.

© 2022 Gaston Zvi Ickowicz . All rights reserved.