Through her deliberate curation, Roni gives us the opportunity to immersively experience haredic community Mea Sharim, located north of Jerusalem s city centre. although she resides in Jerusalem, Roni chose to source her photos from google maps, since an unpleasant experience while traveling in the area. This being the catalyst for her account.
Who are you?
I'm a 24 yo jewish female named Roni bahir I study visual design in Jerusalem, Israel.
How did the idea for this peculiar project first came to your mind?
Last November I had a traumatic bus riding in Jerusalem with ultra orthodox males. This group in Jerusalem are fighting to maintain gender seragation. I set next to them since there was no other place on that bus. they then started attacking me verbally only because of my gender. The time passed by and I realised a month ago I need to make a closure, to understand, revenge and to do my own research on this subject. I then tried to remember how the neighbourhood it all happened in looked like, so I went in google maps street view and found their world, their habits, their stores, their clothes. And looking at them from this point of view helped me answer them what I wanted to answer on the bus that day.
I like to imagine Google Street View as a ‘divine' photograph of the whole world. It seems almost as it’s some kind of outside creature's visualisation of all our weird dynamics from a closer perspective. What is in your opinion the most interesting aspect of this type of photography?
I like to see it as if I’m documenting something already documented. It’s like a homage to an artist. I take what I see and give my own point of view out of it. I choose the composition, I choose not to edit them and I choose to publish them.
"These are photographs that no one took and memories that no one has,” said Rafman, a canadian ‘street view artist', about his work. How do you think this possibility of having access to a visual memory of human situations that weren’t captured by a human mind changes the way we can perceive time and the immortalization of it’s moments?
I haven’t thought about this issue from this point of view until now. But I feel that today, there is nothing made originally from a human mind, there is nothing not documented also, and for that, everything documented is immortalized. Bodies and personas are not what they used to be. And obviously they are not our own anymore. for example, I use people bodies everyday and publish them to instagram. they are a material for me.
Do you think this ramification of photography could lead to a change in the role of the photographer, seen more as a selector of images that carry a meaning worth sharing, rather than an active explorer?
As i guess a millennial, I feel my and “our” minds this days are trying to find ways to express ourselves with the lowest amount of energy we can contribute. I hope this answering your question?
Who are your biggest inspirations in this field?
Google and Vivian Maier.
courtesy MEA SHEARIM
interview JOAO GERONIMI
More to read