Updated: Jul 24, 2019

There are a few ways that elements can be in dialogue in a photograph. The most obvious way is actual dialogue between subjects, as is the case in the photo below.

I'm drawn to this photo very much but before I dissect it for the why a disclaimer is necessary. Just like the general rule in the landscape of social reality, we can't know another's story just by looking at them. What we see is our own projection, sometimes well founded and often nothing but delusion. Socially, I bear this in mind and consciousness. When it comes to Street Photography however, I go full swing and liberally apply projection and story. I'm able to do this because I'm aware that I'm not telling the stories of the actual subjects. They are like models representing us all (hence one of my favorite hashtags, #wearethestreet), and my only concern with them personally is that I treat their service of representation with respect. It's not their story I'm telling, it's our story.

With that in mind, I look at the two main characters below and I see levels of identity politics swirling round each other gracefully but also heart achingly. In this moment, both are owning a deep sense of confidence born of contrast and backed by their respective worlds. The expression of the boy on the left is engaged but also not. It's assured but almost dismissively measured by his expectation of the other's capacity for understanding. And who is this other? A few seconds of absorbing his body language and there is a surprisingly similar takeaway. He's engaged but also not. His expectation is perhaps even more dismissively measured. They are sided. They are same. Their lack of dialogue is in dialogue.

The image induces a variety of feelings within me, each like a bold color. I feel proud, of both of them, of both of their worlds. I'm proud of the spine they carry. And I feel pain, at the division, at their stalemate position, and the larger social reality that this just begins to represent.

And what makes me feel a dizzy almost mystical hope? Yet another element, the gold of Street Photography, the easter egg in this image - the message on the t-shirt: In Case of War Break Glass. There sits the dove of peace, ready when we are.

Below is Sided I, the first in the ongoing series Sided, Jerusalem. In this image, the two main subjects are presented in visual dialogue even if they themselves are not actually interacting. In my own story projection, which happened on sight as I saw them, they are one and not two. They are manifestations of different angles, different shades, different moods, different happenings, but they are one. Perhaps this is why this image felt best seen in monochrome whereas above they needed their color for the dance to swirl.


 © 2019 Ourit Ben-Haim


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