Tal Ben Avi
By often regarding the ground, Tel Aviv-based photographer Tal Ben-Avi is interested in exploring the things that are usually overlooked by the masses. His images capture abstract compositions of nature and (at times) pieces of human interferences, asking his prospective audience to closely examine all there is and not just all there should be.
You have been a photographer for the past ten years, how did you start?
I was already a curious teenager back then. I used to paint, draw, and play upright bass. I’ve always had interests in several kinds of artistic tools for self-expression. I first began experimenting with photography when I took up my father’s old Ricoh 35mm film camera and began classes of black and white darkroom processing methods in Tel Aviv.
The camera angle in your pictures is often directed towards the ground. It's my impression people mostly tend to look up, rather than down, when passing through settings. Is it a ground's certain uninhibitedness that interests you?
While I go wandering outside, searching for my spots, my eyes usually tend to glance towards the ground. It’s a natural tendency of mine, derived from an old habit of avoiding human eye contact. I look for fulfilling and fascinating surfaces and objects, and usually I encounter them on the ground.
It seems as though all your work is devoid of humans, nature the primary subject. Do you feel especially close to nature?
Yes, sure. Nature has a big calming impact on me and on my work. I tend to walk alone into deserted natural sites as much as I can. It clears my mind and inspires thoughts. Throughout the course of a year, it’s very important for me to do several spontaneous visits to nature.
If you needed to narrow it down, what do you want to declare most with your pictures?
In my photographs, I tend to look for compressed and rich accumulations of materials and compositions, in a figurative manner. Thematically, I tend to search for objects and surfaces that have been used beyond their natural capacity and have been exhausted to the state of morbidity. In addition, the presence of time and its weight on the frame is also important. To conclude, I would like to declare and point at the so called “mundane” findings and moments I collect. I ask for a further reading of things, an additional moment to look at things that are usually overlooked.
How important is the presence of light within your work?
Since I’m a photographer and tend to shoot in natural light, the presence of light and the kind of light and season within each frame are extremely important. For example: it’s common for me to locate a potential frame, but the time and light might be wrong so I return when the light is right
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