Humanizing the conflict

A New York exhibition of the works of photojournalist Rina Castelnuovo focuses on the sites, the landscapes and the people swept into the fray.

By RACHEL WOLFF JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
April 28, 2010 23:37
2 minute read.
TRANSCENDING IMMEDIACY. Photos such as ‘Gaza Borde

rina castelnuovo photo 311. (photo credit: Rina Castelnuovo)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

NEW YORK – For 17 years and counting, award-winning Israeli photojournalist Rina Castelnuovo has worked as a contributing photographer to the New York Times, documenting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the frontlines, so to speak: inside bombed-out homes, alongside IDF tanks, at funerals, in synagogues, outside of mosques.

She’s seen every stage of the conflict – the calm between the storms, the rapid fire, the offensives, the defensives, the prayers for safety coming from both sides of the line. And in a new exhibition at the Andrea Meislin Gallery in New York (on view through May 28), Castelnuovo shares some of her more poetic findings with those who are infinitely more removed from the situation.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


They aren’t your typical Chelsea fare – the galleries here are far better known for the weird, the shiny and the avant garde (though South African artist Marlene Dumas happens to be concurrently exhibiting paintings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at David Zwirner Gallery) – and hanging on stark white walls, Castelnuovo’s images gain a certain intimacy that is often glossed over in newsprint, where immediacy is the name of the game.

Many the images were taken in and around the time of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip and the disengagement in 2005. Throughout, Castelnuovo succeeds in humanizing the conflict via young soldiers, Israeli beach bums, loving domestic scenes, and moments of reflection and prayer. In Gaza Border (2009), one of Castelnuovo’s most arresting images, a uniformed IDF soldier draped in prayer shawl and tefillin stands upon his rugged tank and bows his head in prayer after receiving orders to move his men into the city, from which black smoke billows in the distance

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where Castelnuovo’s sympathies lie (an essential quality, of course, in any serious photojournalist). But her relative objectivity presents many sides to this long and very complicated story – one that the rest of the world doesn’t know nearly enough about. Castelnuovo offers counterpoints to some of her IDF imagery (just-as-young Palestinian gunmen, refugee camps, peace activists); she shows IDF soldiers breaking down in tears at having to displace their fellow countrymen and women in the territories as well as daily life in the many areas affected by persistent Hamas rocket-fire; and, in one particularly disturbing image, she shows a Jewish teenager tossing a glass of wine onto a Palestinian woman passing him on the street. (Taken during a Purim celebration in Hebron, it’s the one photograph Castelnuovo won’t allow to be reproduced in print.)

It’s a timely show and an affecting one at that, as Castelnuovo reveals the ways in which both Israelis and Palestinians are trying to filter out the noise, press on and live fairly normal lives. In this edited crop of what must be tens of thousands of photographs snapped over the past five or so years, Castelnuovo reveals the sites, the landscapes and the people swept into the fray instead of the conflict itself. She presents perspectives, not solutions; and in a forward-thinking move includes a striking May 2009 aerial shot of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin – a site slated for possible drastic change – at dusk.

Related Content

Sarah Silverman
August 26, 2014
Jewish women take home gold at 2014 Emmys

By JTA