How It All Began
I moved from Ireland to Israel in 2009 after living there almost half a lifetime and was looking for an artistic outlet to ease my acceptance back into the Israeli society. I quickly realized that I was using my photography not only as my art, but also as a way to meet new people and make new friends, and to fill my soul, as the move was extremely difficult and lonely. One of the other things I discovered was; that tattoos were really "big" as a social statement in Israel, (in Ireland they were really just as common as drinking beer) so I started photographing tattooed people that I knew, and it quickly became "a thing". More and more people started showing up at my studio asking to pose for me, which was a lot of fun. Then it started becoming more than just photo sessions - it became personal for all of us and a meaningful activity.
I unofficially started this project around 2011 as a mere concept (it had no name yet), as I discovered that a lot of my friends were thrilled to pose for me in the studio and to try to create a unique view of Israeli society with me. So, from mid 2011 until late 2018 we ran with shooting different scenes based on our favorite painters and photographers, song lyrics, and sometimes random ideas that popped into our heads during our conversations about art and the human body. We experimented with many ideas on film, hoping we would get agreeable results and soon what had started as a personal experiment of shooting tattooed individuals, who happened to be my friends, had turned into a social activity and volume of work that I call “The Human Tissue”.
If I wish to only try to "mark the spot" where I see this as a ground-breaking effort for myself and my friends (and maybe even for our society), I need only count the people who have participated in my little adventure. Amongst the people who worked with me, we have five former Orthodox Jews, one Muslim, five Christians and three members of the LGBTI community, an individual with Tourette syndrome, two cancer survivors, a person with borderline autism, a Hindu and a former refugee who converted to Judaism, five dancers, two lawyers, an insurance agent, three teachers, two chefs, a few students, four engineers, a shop owner, a paramedic, six active duty soldiers, a chemist, a gynecologist, a few musicians, two yoga instructors, mothers, fathers, two grandmothers, and a few couples. Altogether 80 individuals, who joined forces with me to try to create something amazing together, all unified by love of art and love for their fellow human beings. What more could I have asked for in life? Also considering all of them served a full term in the IDF, with no regards to their faiths, and with ages ranging from 18 to 60 - I truly see this as the epitome of who we are as the Israeli people.
So here it is - the "Human Tissue" project, spanning 7 years, presented here and in the published book.