Life in black & white

There is a common visual thread that runs through the exhibits at Baruch Rafiach’s exhibition at the Sira Pub, but the photos were taken over a period of 15 years.

Picture from Baruch Rafiach’s exhibition 521 (photo credit: Baruch Rafiach)
Picture from Baruch Rafiach’s exhibition 521
(photo credit: Baruch Rafiach)
There is more than one reason for Baruch Ra- fiach’s preference for a monochromatic approach to his art form. The 50-something Galilee-based photographer currently has an intriguing exhibition spread around the Sira Pub and underground music venue on Ben-Sira Street that goes by the somewhat somber title “Ani Met Kmo She’ani Hai” (I Die Like I Live).
Rafiach says the exhibition moniker was not so much his idea.
“It comes from a poem by a friend of mine, Alma Fogel, which she wrote about the previous exhibition I had in Tel Aviv,” he explains, adding that the ode fills the visual bill. “You could say that the poem describes the photographs. Everything [in the images] is on the fringes of death or sleep, something that has almost vanished.”
So, then, are we talking about something definitively dark? “I don’t know if it’s dark,” retorts Rafiach. “This is life. Life ends in death, but death also includes life. The two are intertwined. You see that in the photographs, but it is not really something you can explain in words. The horse is dead, but it looks alive,” he points out.
The equine creature in question features prominently in one of the pictures, lying on a beach at the water’s edge. It is part of a nine-piece set of prints affixed to one of the more dilapidated walls of the downtown pub and is laid out in a 3x3 formation.
There is very little in the way of clearly defined figures or subjects in any the photographs which, in a way, draw the viewer in to the milieu of the image and almost demand some kind of external input on the part of the public. You have to do a little work to fathom Rafiach’s intent, which isn’t a bad way to