Israeli Photojournalist Collective That Foments Social Change

    Report from Haaretz

    “It’s hard to imagine the past dozen years without the Activestills group of photographers. The images they have captured of demonstrations at the Palestinian villages Bil’in and Na’alin in the West Bank, the evacuation of the down-and-out residents of the Givat Amal neighborhood in Tel Aviv, the West Bank separation barrier and Israel’s social protest movement have been widely disseminated – turned into street posters, shared on social networks, transmitted to news agencies and published in the established media, in Haaretz and on the Walla news site. Without the presence on January 18 of Activestills photographer Keren Manor in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev, it would probably have been impossible to refute the accusations against resident Yakub Abu al-Kiyan: He would have forever remained in the minds of the public a terrorist who deliberately ran over Israeli policeman Erez Levi – rather than an innocent victim of the security forces. (Those forces shot Kiyan as he was driving, he lost control of his vehicle, and he died; Levi also died)….

    Activestills images have become part of the imagined collectivity in this land. At the same time, the group’s approach has expanded and altered the field of “photojournalism,” and indeed transcended it. “Activestills: Photography as Protest in Palestine/Israel,” edited by Vered Maimon, a senior lecturer in the art history department at Tel Aviv University, and Shiraz Grinbaum, Activestills’ curator and photo editor, offers an interim summation of the group’s activity. The new book, in English, underscores and analyzes the collective’s distinctiveness, with the aid of dozens of photos from the tens of thousands in its archive. Printed in large format and on high-quality paper, the photos are beautiful – and bitter as wormwood.”
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