16 February 2014

Gabi Ben Avraham - Street Photography is an adventure

Gabi Ben Avraham brings streets to life. Gabi, who lives in Tel Aviv and most of his work is from streets of Tel Aviv. Gabi's work is remarkable and distinct. His forte with light and ability to turn everyday scenes into dramatic compositions is outstanding. He is equally apt with Black n White composition as well as color and his style is probably best described as fun and deeply philosophical. We are pleased to showcase and interview Gabi on Photo Street.

Q. Tell us about yourself, where do you live and some background.
 I am 53 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

Q: How did you get started with photography and what motivated you to shoot when you started?
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 4 years ago. The rest is history….

Q: What gear do you use? How important in your opinion is gear for a photographer?
I started with Nikon D-90 and Sigma 10-20 mm lens but nowadays I am using a Nikon D-800 with a 24 mm prime lens. Sometimes I am using 20 mm prime lens. I believe that SF needs wide lens and I work only with prime lens, I really do not think it matters what gear you use in order to be a good street photographer. The camera is only a tool while the photographer is the main factor. My next camera will be a mirrorless camera. It is small, invisible and quiet, ideal for SF.

Q. Your preferred style is obviously street photography. Tell us about how you started street photography. What or who inspires you.
My personal style has changed and developed during time according to the exposure to the art world, other artists' works and theoretical and practical knowledge of photography. First, I was looking for shadows and reflections, I exercised some techniques and focused on different issues such as complicated compositions, working with light and finding a story with an idea, till I found my own style.

I am inspired by what I see, hear or even smell on the street, I absorb the images and let them leave after they are being "processed".
The most inspiring photographers for me are: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alex Webb, Felix Lupa, Steve McCurry.

Q. How often do you shoot. When you shoot do you usually wait for subjects or move around trying to find interesting frames. Tell us about your style
Usually I shoot during the weekends and on special occasions. 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. 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


What do you feel about street photography in comparison to other forms of photography like
 travel, landscape, portrait, fashion etc. 
I believe one must find the place where he feels the most comfortable. For me it is the street. I am excited to wonder throughout  the streets towards my new adventure. It changes constantly: situations, people, light. It is very dynamic and therefore interesting. I wait for things to happen and they always do. I try to achieve photographs which are a combination of the ‘decisive’ moment with mis-context and a feeling of surrealistic disorientation. I try to make the spectator uncertain of the familiar and create a new vision of reality.

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 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. Forgotten, transparent people in urban surroundings are being granted 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 are precious to me.

Q. What is your most satisfying achievement as a photographer. Anything that you are proud of.
I have just returned from Cuba and nowadays I am working on my second Cuba series. I am very proud of my first Cuba series:

Q. What are your plans for future. What do you plan and look forward to doing in future. 

 I am working on an on-going series of religious ceremonies and cults as a long-term project. I plan to travel abroad in order to make some new series. From time to time there are some exhibitions which I take part in.

Q. What is your advise to aspiring street photographers. 
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.

All Photographs and Video posted here are Copyright of Gabi Ben Avraham. Copy of the content without permission is not permitted.

To see more of Gabi Ben Work visits

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