Foto Friday – Gabriel Benaim looks at Tel Aviv
Photographer Gabriel Benaim is originally from Panama City and now lives and works in Tel Aviv. He studied philosophy but has in the last six years devoted himself to photography and is currently working on a long term project documenting the city of Tel Aviv on its 100th anniversary.
In this series, Benaim created compositions using the structures of Tel Aviv, the armatures, patterns and textures unique to the city. In his framing, he makes order out of the disorder, sanity out of a crazy hodge-podge.
Benaim is part of a small group of photographers worldwide who still use only traditional photographic materials, i.e. film and silver paper. He works almost exclusively with an 8×10 camera, and prints on silver chloride paper, usually Azo, the last silver chloride paper widely available, as well as its recent replacement, Lodima Fine Art paper.
It provides a range of tones and warmth that suits the Tel Aviv urban landscape as it shimmers and simmers in the hot summer sun.
It’s best to look at Benaim’s pictures full-sized on his website or on his blog, where he posts both explanations about photographic technique and discusses his work. When he began the Tel Aviv series last summer, he writes, he “was obsessed with extreme views from above, be it rooftops, hills, whatever. It was as if I had this visual idea in my head which I had to find somewhere out there…The allure of the high vantage point is fairly obvious, especially for anyone interested in abstraction. Almost anything looks interesting from above, if only because we’re so unused to the perspective.”
Viewed in black in white, rather than its true Technicolor, and from a distance, rather than street level, Benaim gives shape to the ungainly adolescent that is Israel’s biggest city — 100 years young and with a long way yet to grow.