Coming Soon is an exploration of our visual relationship with the branded city centers and the commercial environment we live in. In recent years, a kaleidoscopic net of huge billboards has enveloped the commercial hubs of New York City. The branding of the cityscape has become so ubiquitous, that the colorful, monumental advertisements, looming over the narrow streets, seem to be virtually unnoticed by the passersby. Giant billboards both dominate the urban landscape and blend into the background. Always in the peripheral vision, these ads turn the people moving through the space into passive spectators.
The ephemeral nature, massive size and saturated colors of the ads create a fluid cinematic experience for the observer. People inhabiting the space underneath are pulled, unaware, into a staged set, the reality of the street merging with the commercial fantasy of the advertisements. The grasp is democratic and compulsory –the outdoor advertisements cannot be turned off and are able to reach a diverse public whose movements through the city momentarily overlap. The effectiveness of outdoor billboards is juxtaposed with their impermanence; most are replaced after several weeks.
In this rapidly changing world in which career and financial successes are revered, perhaps even idolized, communities, as well as the concept of personal identities and how they are presented within society are greatly evolving. The information revolution shortened distances between people enabling interactions never before possible. Yet even in these exciting times belief continues to be one of the basic, most significant and profound factors defining and shaping individuals and societies alike.
Having been raised in Israel, I was regularly exposed to strong religious, social and political beliefs and ideas from an early age. Holy sites situated throughout Israel make the (physically) small country extremely important for Jews, Christians, Muslim and many other religions. The region’s history combined with the volatile political situation today, result in a complex and intense reality in which people emphatically and publicly express themselves.
I am fascinated and sometimes frightened by the extreme situations people reach in the pursuit and defense of their beliefs. I explore the various sides of how people practice their beliefs, the places it brings them to and the scenes in which they take part. Regardless of specific religious or political affinities, belief can provide a sense of community, belonging, safety, and understanding, yet might also provoke hatred, separation and aggressiveness.
Tranquility vs. anger, ecstasy vs. rage, understanding vs. fanaticism.
The series focuses on religious ceremonies, political events and situations of conflict throughout Israel. The photographs in this project are direct examinations of the public as a whole yet focus on individuals and their experiences as well. By displaying multiple images in this series, I aim to show the multifaceted nature of belief and the various ways it impacts the lives of individuals and communities. Belief can often shape people’s behavior and personal interactions but this is typically unnoticed by those who are most deeply influenced by it.
Natan Dvir is an Israeli photographer who focuses on the human aspects of political, social and cultural issues. He received his MBA from Tel Aviv University and his MFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts (NY), after which he became an adjunct faculty member at the International Center of Photography (ICP). Based in New York City he photographs around the world represented by Polaris Images photo agency and Anastasia Photo gallery.
Natan's main projects were exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, South America and Israel including the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), Portland Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art (Cleveland), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Blenton Museum of Art (Austin), Southeast Museum of Photography (Daytona), International Center of Photography (New York), Blue Sky Gallery (Portland, OR), Anastasia Photo Gallery (New York), Schneider Gallery (Chicago), Houston Center for Photography, Center for Photography in Woodstock, Museo de Antioquia (Medellin), Festival de la Luz (Buenos Aires), War Photo Museum (Dubrovnik), the Central European House of Photography (Bratislava), Christie’s (London), Kultur Bahnhof Eller (Düsseldorf), Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and Museum on the Seam (Jerusalem).
Natan’s work has been published by leading international magazines including The New York Times, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, Der Spiegel, Stern, Focus, The Times, Daily Mail, Paris Match, Le Monde, and Le Figaro among others. His work has received recognition wining prizes around the world including the Picture of the Year (POYi), PDN Photo Annual, American Photography, International Photography Award (IPA), New York Photography Festival Award, Critical Mass top 50, Black & White Spider Award, and the Picture of the Year Award in the Israeli press.
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