PHOTO IS:RAEL 2022 — Selections

Conceptual Projects
Published in
5 min readDec 9, 2022


PHOTO IS:RAEL 2022 promotional image by Ismail Ferdous

Last week, PHOTO IS:RAEL closed the doors of its 10th Edition. The festival presented 50 exhibitions which featured works from artists from all around the globe. It was really refreshing to see works from renowned Israeli photographers and emerging artists as well. PHOTO IS:RAEL was a wonderful opportunity to discover new names that are contributing to the development of the language of photography.

I personally felt that there was an important presence of documentary photographers which explored themes that included the dialogue and the relationships between human beings as the pivotal topic of their investigations. It was quite challenging for us to highlight just a few of them.

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Tair Adato (b. 1995, Israel). The Rest is Still Unwritten

The Rest is Still Unwritten is a personal journey, an exploration of identity through the life of an Israeli teenager raised by an Orthodox family in the coastal city of Bnei Brak, near to Tel Aviv. An interesting visual crossover between the progressive ambiance of Tel Aviv’s nightlife and the important weight of Jewish tradition is constantly present on Tair Adato’s series, which contemplates queerness within religious education.

Jean-François Bouchard (b. 1968, Canada). The Other Cuba

Conceived as a short documentary, The Other Cuba shows an alternative view of what Cuban’s subculture is living in a post-pandemic era. Even with the huge drop of overseas tourism, people were able to find new ways to continue expressing themselves and reinvigorate the creative scene. The images, most of them illuminated just by a weak bright light, enclosed by shadows construct these gloomy scenes that reflect the unique lifestyle of the subjects.

Fabiola Cedillo (b.1987, Ecuador). Los Mundos de TITA

Tita is Fabiola Cedillo’s older sister. When she was a child she was diagnosed with a rare brain disorder that, now in her thirties, left her in a naive state. The series shows the fragility, tenderness and love that Fabiola has for her sister and reveals at the same time some glimpses of the inner world that Tita inhabits. It is a remarkable project that outlines the relationship between both sisters and how, despite the miscommunication that might exist, are able to keep a strong connection.

Forest Kelley (b. 1980, United States). Michael

Forest Kelley reimagines the history of gay men living in rural areas. He traced the experiences of his uncle Michael who was found dead on June 14, 1985. The decade of 1980s was the beginning of the AIDS crisis, an important landmark in queer history. Michael’s death was presumed suicide as the first test for HIV wasn’t licensed yet. By using Michael’s personal archive materials, Forest has been able to re-enact and reconstruct the stories of his uncle. The series mainly seeks answers and tries to understand all the fears and hopes that still resonate within the LGBT+ community and on Forest’s family.

Hanna Putz & Sophie Thun (b. 1987 & 1985, Austria and Poland). White Flag

White Flag is a photographic dialogue between two women. Two artists that have been sharing, over the course of two years, images of them in different spaces, posing or interpreting roles. The viewer becomes part of this conversation through numerous diptychs where both friends interpret a dual gaze inside a shared space. Altogether, both photographers question the roles of “dominant” and “dominated”, breaking the relationship between photographer and model, ownership and objectification of the human body.

Hanna Rédling (b. 1993, Hungary). Color TV, Queens Bed, Exotic Dreams

Not so long ago we featured in our Instagram profile and webiste, a project by Hungarian artist Hanna Rédling, where she analysed the concept of nostalgia. In her last series, Color TV, Queens Bed, Exotic Dreams, Hanna kept investigating her cultural heritage and the history of her homeland through the motels that were built during the Hungarian regime change. The eccentric interiors of the rooms create a unique atmosphere that takes the viewer back to this period of political transformation. Hanna considers that by reviewing and redefining history, people can confront the future.

Natália Evelyn Benčičová, Leontína Berková, Karina Golisová & Zuzana Pustaiová. Out of Square. Curated by Zuzana Lapitková

OFF Festival curator Zuzana Lapitková presented Out of Square, an exhibition that comprised works by four emerging Slovak artists whose practices explore the involvement and existence of human beings in our planet. How do our “necessities” affect our environment? How are we behaving with our natural surroundings? In which direction are we going if we continue with some of our unsustainable lifestyle models?

Some of these questions configure part of the work of these four women. The exhibition is supported by strong statements that put on the table issues such as the development of constructed spaces, the utopian visions of settlements, the actual difficulties to access to housing, or the frustration that generate the expectations that society has in comparison with what they can achieve in reality.

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Text by:

Juan Blasco — Founder & Curator of Conceptual Projects