An unconscious return / Jenny Rafalson

I photograph subjects that are a part of my life and have strong ties to my emotions, such as daily moments, memories and events, which I appropriate. I work on the border between directed studio work and documentary photography that aims to perpetuate a brief moment. I mix both and incorporate images such as flowers inspired by my grandmother’s stories, soup leftovers, an old negative, an old wallpaper and more.

The photos you are looking at are a part of a series I started making three years ago, shortly after my parents left the house of my adolescence. During moving, I noticed many objects they had brought with them from USSR, such as vases, cups, and maps. I was caught by surprise, as I never paid attention to those objects yet they had been there all along. Maybe the fact that they were hidden and were forbidden to touch as if they were statues could explain my indifference towards them.

After taking photos of the cups first, I started being intrigued with photographing objects that portray what I interpret as “a Russian experience.” They evoked feelings towards a culture I used to be ashamed of for many years. At that time, I felt “Israeli enough” to be confident in researching my roots.

Roses, for example, are hard to grow and is a metaphor for moving from one ground to another, trying to live regardless of difficulties. Through making such images, I reevaluate my connection to a place and define my divided identity. The gap between the object and me allows me to see the changes I went through. In other words: used cups carry the story and history I capsulate in the photographs, and tell my story, as well as the story of my family and friends. It enables me to have a complex dialogue with my Russian and Israeli identity.