Through the Lens
the first, formal exhibition to show the
breadth of Taglit-Birthright Israel’s impact on the Jewish world
The Taglit-Birthright Israel Photography Competition was open for a two month period during the summer of 2013. All past alumni, now a pool of more than 350,000 participants, from 64 countries, were eligible to enter. Taglit received 3,583 photographic submissions from across Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Peru, Serbia, United States of America and the United Kingdom.
Traditionally, people associate very specific imagery with the holy land; the exhibition curators felt that those postcard photographs became repetitive and detracted from the myriad ways in which people can experience modern Israel. The country is a vibrant and contemporary place for young people, artists, and professionals. In the exhibition, Taglit’s alumni illustrate how truly special the experience is, in the most authentic version – through the lens of our participants!
Ranging from the salt forms of the Dead Sea to the vast expanse of the Judean Desert and beyond the hills of a Kibbutz, Through the Lens hearkens to the variegated backdrops and experiences a traveler can feel during their first 10 days in Israel. The winning pictures show everything from quiet landscapes to surprising moments of contemplation and familiarity.
Over 66 years since the founding of the State of Israel, and 14 years since the inception of Taglit-Birthright Israel, many people still view the country as a place of controversy, contested ideologies and tumult. Comprised of 31 works Through the Lens evokes an emotional reaction to candid moments, glimpses of daily life, national pride and group dynamics.
As former participants, the alumni are simultaneously tourists yet brethren. This obscures the idea of home and identity. In many ways, the Israel shown throughout the exhibition is faceless, literally, as the only distinguishing features shown are of Taglit-Birthright Israel alumni. What face will you put on Israel?
In celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut, and in cooperation with Taglit-Birthright Israel, eJewish Philanthropy brings you a selection of photographs from the competition.