An astounding story of a modern day artist who have not touched his camera in the last 20 years and then there was this gift from his wife which changed everything. This is Gabi Ben Avraham, a very familiar name in the circles of SP (Street Photography) as he calls it. Beautiful documentation of the urban life, Gabi tells us that this is more of an adventure he loves to do with street photography, a lot to ponder, learn and get inspired from this finest contemporary street photographer. Take a look for yourself.
Photo Credits: Dana Caspi
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am 55 years old, married with three children. I work in a software company as an IT manager and live in a quiet neighborhood of Tel Aviv, the city which I grew up in, have never left and which is a part of me and my photographing.
What first drew you to photography and how did you discover it?
It all started long ago but I did not know it was “it”. During the 1980’s I photographed using film cameras. Even then I used to wonder in the streets of Tel Aviv in search of the extraordinary. I then stopped and have not touched a camera for 20 years until I received a digital camera as a gift for my birthday from my wife 6 years ago. The rest is history….
What makes street photography so special for you?
I think what attracts me in SP is that I love taking photos of people in urban surrounding since there is always a story to catch. The street is not a studio. Sometimes I stand and wait for things to converge – a cyclist, a dancer, a child – moving along. They are not aware that they are moving towards a certain object, but I am. Via the camera lens I am constantly looking around me, searching for that ‘decisive’ moment that will never return, unless I catch it. When pushing the button, I try to make some sense, restore order to the chaotic scheme of things in the composition.
The components ‘speak’ with each other in a special dialogue, either by color, shape, or light. Capturing the elusive, special moment after which things will never be the same and making it eternal – that is my goal. I pay attention to the forgotten, transparent people in the urban surroundings and grant them their moment of grace. The shadows, fragile outlines, reflections within daily lives that are not noticed in the busy and thick urban landscape and sometimes are even crushed by it – these I treasure.
For Gabi, what does it take to make a good street photograph?
Like a fisherman who goes to his daily work without knowing what he will catch, I take my camera and dive into the streets without knowing what will happen 5 minutes later. It is an adventure. When I click I try to see the surreal and to sort things out of their everyday meaning and their usual context. I have my favorite places and I never come with the same photos. It is always different: the people, the light and shadows, the atmosphere.
This is the fun part. The hard part is when I come home and try to make a selection of the best photos. I try to make minimal editing in the post-processing stage. When I do not find a reason for color I prefer B/W.
One thing that photography had taught you over the years?
Three things SP taught me: first, try to find the story behind the scene, via using a wide lens. Second, establish connection or contradiction between the objects to create a surrealistic impact and third, use the light and color to strengthen the composition/story.
Can you please choose one picture from your portfolio and share the story behind the making?
When I visited Cuba, I was invited to a home and after a moment found myself surrounded by pigs! 🙂
- 2013 – My images were exhibited in a solo exhibition in Davis, USA.
- 2013 – Became a member of Thestreetcollective .
- 2014 – “Local Testimony” a group photo journalism exhibition in Israel)
- 2015 – “Local Testimony” a group photo journalism exhibition in Israel)
- 2015 – A solo exhibition in the Angkor photo festival in Cambodia.
- 2015 – I attended the Miami Street Photography Festival to show our work together with other members of Thestreetcollective.We are planning a big collective show in Sweden for the summer of 2016.
I also took part in many group exhibitions in Israel and abroad.
Your favorite photographers?
I am inspired especially by Henri Cartier Bresson and his B&w images and by Alex Webb and his fantastic work with surreal composition and great colors and by many more Magnum and In-public photographers.
Your favorite photography quote?
My favorite quote is “Yes Its all luck” by HC Bresson.
Apart from Photography, tell us your hobbies and interests?
My interests are in good music and good beer.
What camera do you use the majority of the time?
I use the Fuji xt1 camera with 3 prime lenses: 14mm, 18mm and 23mm.
Any tips for aspiring street photographers out there?
My tips for beginners are: Look at other photographers’ works on the Web and try to build your own style. Exercise a lot with the camera, find your own Master and be open to critics.
You can find Gabi Ben Avraham on the Web :
All the pictures in this post are copyrighted Gabi Ben Avraham. Their reproduction, even in part, is forbidden without the explicit approval of the rightful owners.